March 2, 2010

Remembering Bowling Green Lacrosse: 1965-1979

From left to right: Former Bowling Green men's lacrosse All-Americans Lauri Turevon, Chuck Winters, Bill Burch, Ed Hedrick, John Brizendine, Mickey Cochrane, Pete Farrell, Mike Wilcox, Jeff Woloshyn, Vladimir Horyl and John Grim.

Bowling Green had a varsity men's lacrosse program from 1965 to 1979 that was one of the most successful in NCAA history, winning over 75 percent of its games. The team competed in the Midwest Lacrosse Association that included Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State and Denison.

Denny Vereb and Mike Wilcox organized a lacrosse reunion in the fall, and over 50 players returned to the BGSU campus to renew friendships and share Falcon lacrosse memories.

The following article is reprinted with the permission of BGSU Magazine.

The ensuing video was produced by John Bowen, Class of 1974, to commemorate the memory of lacrosse at Bowling Green.

They came, not for a banquet or an anniversary or a formal event, but simply to reconnect, relive those glory years and reaffirm their devotion to their coaches, their school and to the program they built to put Bowling Green lacrosse on the national map.

More than 50 players who were the core of the Bowling Green men's lacrosse team during its brief but brilliant run in the 1960s and 1970s gathered at the university on a recent weekend to honor their legendary coach Mickey Cochrane, and to cast time aside.

“That was part of the magic for me -- that so many guys wanted to come back to Bowling Green and just celebrate,” Cochrane said. “For those few days, we were just one big team again.”

BGSU lacrosse won more than 75 percent of its games and three Midwest Lacrosse Association championships in its hey day.

“The program had an amazing amount of success,” said Dennis Vereb. “And that was the product of putting together a quality group of guys with some great coaches. We were a team and a family, and clearly we still are.”

The Falcons were ranked in the top 25 nationally in five different seasons, and at one point in the mid-1970s won 27 straight league games.

“Playing lacrosse at Bowling Green was all about working hard and showing your true character,” said Pete Farrell. “Our coaches showed us we had what it takes to get things done.”

Five Falcon lacrosse coaches and players are in the BGSU Athletics Hall of Fame -- Cochrane, Farrell, Mike Wilcox, Chuck Winters, John Brizendine.

“I knew nothing about the place, but I came here because Bowling Green had a great lacrosse program, and being a part of this changed my life,” said Wilcox, a former BGSU All-American and current chairman of the US Lacrosse Foundation Board.

“Coming back and reliving those days -- it‘s a marvelous gift they have given to all of us,” Cochrane said.
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