LBL was founded in 1993 to promote the sport of Lacrosse in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The organization strives to emphasize the development of boy and girl lacrosse players, emphasizing teamwork, sportsmanship, respect, and discipline and employing coaching methods that provide a positive, rewarding experience for players on and off the field. Lower Bucks Lacrosse is a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
The Organization and its History
Back in 1993, quite a few Yardley, Newtown and Langhorne lacrosse players played for Hopewell Valley Lacrosse, the only lacrosse program close to the Yardley/Langhorne area. Jerry Middlemiss was the men’s lacrosse coach at Trenton State College, and also was a coach at at Hopewell. The Hopewell Valley Lacrosse League finally convinced their high school to start up a varsity lacrosse program.Their high school club program would be shuttering its doors, leaving the Lower Bucks players out in the cold.
“Hey, Jerry, with all the players from your area, why don’t you start a lacrosse club in Yardley,” they said. And so, Lower Bucks Lacrosse was born, the first lacrosse club in the entire area. Paul Deppi, Doug Hopkins, Jerry Middlemiss, Kenneth Burko, Jerry Swartwood, Larry Genna, Harry Worral, Dennis Strobel, Jack Reeves, Ken Butko, Don Evanson, Rob Peterson, Don Johnson, and Jeff Tucker were the founding fathers, so to speak.
There was a scramble to secure coaches, fields, insurance, and even teams to play. But would the players come?
Come they did. That first season, spring of 1994, 80 players had registered, a rousing success by any measure.Enrollment steadily increased each year thereafter. In the early years, Lower Bucks competed in the South Jersey Lacrosse League; there were no area teams in Pennsylvania to play.The first teams were very successful, and even a handful of these inaugural LBL players went on to college lacrosse careers.
Not satisfied to simply grow their own program, the core LBL group then turned its target on area high schools. Dennis Strobel, one of the founders, was boy’s lacrosse coach at Conwell Egan High School. He was anxious to help establish other local high school lacrosse programs for his boys to compete against; everyone in LBL was anxious to have high level competition for their players beyond 8th grade. LBL began to work closely with the area high schools, pointing out that the LBL feeder program was already established, and high schools would have a great pool of talent from which to draw. It was this core group of LBL founders who are really responsible for the establishment of our area high school programs, which now compete with the best in the area and beyond.
As the boys program grew, they continued to innovate. Paul Deppi was instrumental in arranging for LBL players to play at the halftime of Philadelphia Wings games; they hosted clinics given by Paul Gait, Bill Tierney, and other lacrosse legends. In 1998, LBL joined the Southeastern Pennsylvania Youth Lacrosse Association, and really began expansion in earnest. President Chuck Narwicz was instrumental in this expansion, opening the program up to younger players, and working with area high school and college programs to expose LBL players to even more lacrosse opportunities.
He was also very interested in starting a girls program, so the word went out that Lower Bucks was going to form a league for girls.
Stephanie Magnone, who played high school and college club lacrosse, showed up to register her two young daughters for the program. When Coach Narwicz found out her background, he immediately recruited Stephanie to head up the girls program. Fortunately, she agreed.
That first spring, there were about 30 girls from 4th to 8th grade, practicing out of Quarry Hill Elementary. They played OLMC, Abington, Chapin School, Newtown Friends, and any other lacrosse program they could find. Coach Stephanie, along with Kim Vogel, her assistant, did it all - planning practices, scheduling games, etc.
The next season, word had spread enough to form 3rd/4th, 5th/6th, and 7th/8th grade teams, and the club never looked back. By 2001, the girls program pulled players from as far as Lawrenceville, NJ, as we were one of the more established teams in the area. More and more clubs were sprouting up, providing opponents from West Windsor, Hopewell, Wissahickon and Upper Dublin.
In 2004, the club hosted a girls team from England - Dulwich Prep School for a weekend of bonding and lacrosse games. This hosting was an area first, once again led by Lower Bucks Lacrosse. It was a memorable experience for all involved, and marked a big milestone for the girls program. The LBL Girls program had really arrived.
In 2008, the boys program reached another huge milestone: for the first time in the club history, LBL Boys A-1 Blue Wave team won the SEPYLA championships. All the hard work and dedication of the coaches, administrators, players and parents culminated with this exciting win over arch rival Abington.The Blue Wave served notice that the LBL boys program was, and would remain, a force to be reckoned with.
Lacrosse is the fastest-growing sport in the United States, and is growing by leaps and bounds in Lower Bucks County as well. Lower Bucks Lacrosse’s commitment to “double goal coaching” and teaching players to become a “triple impact competitor” creates a positive sports environment that help young athletes succeed both on and off the field, and grow into responsible, successful adults. We look forward to many more years of providing a superior athletic experience for players who want to participate in the “fastest game on two feet.”
In 1994, Jerry Middlemiss, the first president of LBL, proved prophetic when he told the Philadelphia Inquirer “A friend of mine is involved with a rec league in Annapolis, Md., where they have 400 kids” he said. “That’s what we’re shooting for.” 15 years later, his vision has been more than realized. Lower Bucks Lacrosse provides an outstanding lacrosse experience to 550+ area children, thanks to the first visionaries, and countless volunteers after them who constantly work to make our program the best it can be.