The 1983 and 1984 West Genesee boys lacrosse teams will receive this year’s Team of Honor award from the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame.
The teams will be recognized at the 27th annual Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony on Monday, Oct. 21 at Drumlins Country Club in Syracuse.
Coach Mike Messere, seven former players and hall of fame president Jim Battaglia were present at a press conference to announce the honor at Tully’s Good Times restaurant in East Syracuse on Tuesday, July 16.
The ‘83 Wildcats team won the state championship with a prefect 20-0 record while the ’84 team came just short losing to Yorktown by one goal in the championship game to end the season 23-1.
“It was a great run bunch of guys who grew up together and grew up together playing lacrosse. They were willing to work hard and made all the sacrifices necessary,” Messere said.
In addition to being inducted to the Syracuse hall in 1994 and being recognized this year, Messere is a member of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He has had a storied career as a coach at West Genesee winning over 700 games, 29 section II championships and 15 state titles in 36 years as coach, according to the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame website.
Many of the players on those teams went on earn All-American honors in college, play professionally or coach lacrosse later in life. Members of the ’83 and ’84 teams include: Tim Delaney, John and Rob Wurzburger, Phil Willard, John McAuliffe, Jim Lyons, Dave Connelly, Gerry Gutches, Brian Keith, Jeff McNeill and Steve Scaramussino.
The players remarked that those teams were about more than just lacrosse though.
“It’s really a family, West Genessee Lacrosse,” John Lombardo said. “Mr. Messere helped give us the values that have really led us through life in terms of work ethic, honesty, integrity, the things that make you a success not simply as an athlete, but in life.”
The men said that many of their former-teammates, including ones who no longer live in the area, will be present for the dinner on Oct. 21.