2019 Hall of Fame men's inductees (l-r), Charlie Coker, Richard Speckmann, Matt Striebel, Ryan Boyle

Four lacrosse greats who excelled as players and one who enjoyed a record-setting career as a coach were formally inducted as the newest male members of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame Saturday evening at The Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley. 

Charlie Coker, Paul Schimoler, Ryan Boyle and Matt Striebel were officially welcomed as “truly great players” while Richard Speckmann was inducted as a “truly great coach” during the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, sponsored by RPS Bollinger Sports & Leisure and the Markel Insurance Company.

Coker was a three-time All-American midfielder at Johns Hopkins and played on three USILA national championship teams for the Blue Jays from 1968-70. He finished his career with 53 goals and 21 assists after leading the team in goals and tying for the team lead in points as a senior. 

“I don’t think anybody had picked us (in 1970) to do what we did in ‘68 and ‘69,” said Coker, who also played football and wrestled at Hopkins. “That was a great year of overachieving.”

Coker’s teammate at Johns Hopkins, Hall of Fame coach Willie Scroggs, served as his presenter.

“Charlie was such a good athlete that if he were coming out of high school today, with the same skill set, he could be one of the best college lacrosse players today,” Scroggs said. “He had unbelievable athletic ability and he really had a knack for getting his shot off.”

Schimoler, inducted posthumously, was a four-time All-American goalie at Cornell, becoming the first Big Red player to receive national honors four times. He also earned All-Ivy League honors four times and was the Ivy’s player of the year in 1989 and its rookie of the year in 1986. At the time of graduation, Schimoler was the NCAA’s all-time leader with 787 career saves. 

Schimoler, who also played on the U.S. world championship team in both 1990 and 1994, passed away from cancer in 2013. His widow, Lynn-Ellen, accepted the Hall of Fame honor on his behalf. She told the audience about Paul’s emotional reaction to being inducted a few years earlier into the Long Island Metro Hall of Fame.

“He was so deeply moved that he was weeping and silent for almost five minutes during his induction speech,” she said. “He couldn't continue until after he got some shouts of encouragement from the audience. Tonight, I want you to know the fullness of my happy heart.”

Hall of Famer Tim Goldstein, Schimoler’s teammate at Cornell and with the U.S. National Team, served as one of his presenters, alongside Cornell teammates Joe Lizzio and Mike DeStafano.

“The ability to go against Paul every day in practice made us better players,” Goldstein said. “Everybody knows that a great goalie can make a difference, and Paul was that great goalie. He’s going into the Hall of Fame because he deserves it. Paul was just a guy who loved lacrosse.” 

Boyle and Striebel, teammates at Princeton, in Major League Lacrosse, and on three U.S. Men’s teams, have enjoyed overlapping lacrosse careers for nearly 20 years. Fittingly, they join the Hall of Fame in the same year and served as each other’s presenters.

Striebel is the older of the pair, having arrived at Princeton in 1997 and promptly helped the Tigers to a national championship as a freshman on attack. He added a second NCAA title as a senior in 2001 after moving to midfield to accommodate Boyle, who joined the Tigers as a freshman playmaker that season. 

Striebel was a part of four Ivy League championships during his career and earned All-Ivy honors three times. He also played on three U.S. National Teams, helping to claim world championships in 2002 and 2010, and a runner-up finish in 2006. 

“When you play against Canada in the gold medal game, that game is unlike any other game you’re ever going to play,” Striebel said. “Those games are some of the most competitive games you will ever play.”

Striebel also enjoyed a 13-year professional career in Major League Lacrosse, earning all-star honors nine times. He was a part of three MLL championships and was selected as the Championship Game MVP in 2007. He finished his MLL career with 225 goals, 120 assists, and 355 points, ranking among the top 10 all-time in each category. 

“For me, at every level that I played at, there was always a player I looked at and said I need to be able to do what he does,” Striebel said. “Getting to the pros and getting exposed to a whole new group of players made me like a kid in the candy shop, picking and choosing skills that I wanted to develop.”

Boyle finished as a four-time All-American at Princeton, and had the game-winning assist in overtime in the 2001 national championship game. He concluded his college career with 70 goals, 162 assists, and 232 career points, ranking second in Princeton history in assists and third in points. 

In addition to joining Striebel on the 2002, 2006 and 2010 U.S. Men’s National Teams, he played 11 professional seasons in Major League Lacrosse, and seven indoor seasons in the National Lacrosse League. Boyle finished his MLL career as the all-time leader in assists (254) and ranked sixth in points (423). He was a part of four championship teams.

“I didn’t grow up dreaming of playing professional lacrosse because it didn’t exist,” Boyle said. “I really didn’t think about it until there I was. It kind of breathed new life into me, especially after four grueling years of NCAA lacrosse.”

Boyle also shared some sincere words with his close friend Striebel.

“Matt, I love you like a brother,” he said, “and the only thing I really care about with regards to my induction is the fact that I get to do it with you.”

Speckmann was one of the most successful junior college coaches ever, amassing a 477-158-1 record in 40 years at Nassau (N.Y.) Community College. He retired following the 2010 season with a career winning percentage of over 75 percent. Speckmann led Nassau to 20 NJCAA men’s championships during his tenure, with his teams qualifying for the four-team finals in 39 of his 40 seasons. 

“I truly enjoyed it, it wasn’t like going to work,” Speckmann said of his career. “I feel blessed that I was able to do what I really wanted to do.”

Mike Candel was Speckmann’s longtime colleague at Nassau and served as his presenter.

“He was as focused on having his players mature and go on as he was on having them win the national championship,” Candel said. “It takes a special kind of person who can not just win, but also be a mentor and a father figure to so many kids for all those years. To me, that’s what made him special.”

The National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, a program of US Lacrosse, was established in 1957 to honor men and women who by their deeds as players, coaches, officials and/or contributors, and by the example of their lives, personify the great contribution of lacrosse to our way of life. Nearly 450 lacrosse greats are honored in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame & Museum, which is located at US Lacrosse Headquarters in Sparks, Maryland.