Within the lacrosse world, you may have heard of Eamon McEneaney. A three-time All-American at Cornell and cornerstone of a team that won two straight national championships in 1976 and '77, McEneaney was one of the greatest attackman to play the game. He was known for his speed, skill and relentless competitiveness despite his slight 160-pound frame. Tragically, McEneaney, a vice president for Cantor Fitzgerald, died on September 11, 2001, along with 3,000 other innocent people. In the 10 years that have passed since then, many people have learned the story that I know of Eamon; beyond the intense, competitive lacrosse star is one of the most caring, friendly, and full-of-life human beings I ever knew.
I was fortunate enough to have spent time around Eamon McEneaney as a young kid. My father was a good friend and teammate of his two Cornell National Championship teams. I met Eamon many times over the years at reunions or Cornell lacrosse games and right away, I could notice his infectious smile and energy. But since his passing, I feel I have got to know Eamon better from all the stories my dad and his friends tell. Anytime they reminisce about their golden years of college, it always seems to come back to Eamon, the one who could always make them laugh and would always be there for them.
A true example of Eamon’s character and selflessness is the story of the final goal of the 1976 National Championship. Cornell led by 2 in the last minute of overtime and managed to force a Maryland turnover on a clear. Eamon picked up the groundball and ran towards the goal on a breakaway. Instead of shooting the ball himself, he drew the trailing defender and passed over his shoulder to teammate Mike French, who scored an empty-net goal, his 7th of the game. It would have been Eamon’s only goal of the game but instead, he would rather dish to his friend.
After his playing years, Eamon continued his selfless lifestyle. He was a loving husband to his wife Bonnie and a caring father to his four children. He was a lover of all things Irish, including writings, poetry, and the songs of Van Morrison. Eamon also wrote his own poetry and his dream of publishing his own book was realized in 2004 with "A Bend in the Road," a collection of his poems. Eamon was also a caring hero to strangers around him. When the World Trade Center was bombed on February 26, 1993, McEneaney led 63 panicked people from the 105th floor down the dark and smoke-filled stairwell to safety.
Below is a short tribute video and here's an Inside Lacrosse article that should give you more of a sense of the amazing person Eamon was. Hopefully he will be in your thoughts as we remember those lost 10 years ago today.