While there already exists a national lacrosse hall of fame, those walls are filled with players and coaches that primarily excelled at the college level.
With the growth of the sports and the blossoming of professional lacrosse, first with the MLL in 1999 and then with the PLL in 2019, it’s an awesome idea to have the lacrosse version of Cooperstown or Canton.
Here are the rules for who is eligible:
Minimum 5 year playing career in the PLL and/or MLL
Retired from professional play for at least 3 years
Nominated by member of the Hall of Fame committee and receive 75% vote.
Given pro lacrosse started only in 1999 we’re going to miss out on some legends of the game that never played professionally simply because it wasn’t an option. But you gotta draw the line somewhere.
So who is on the Hall of Fame committee? Here you go –
I count one goalie on the committee – Coach BD. So I guess we’ll assume the goalie nomination comes from Billy Daye unless there are some other goalie lovers amongst that group of individuals.
National Lacrosse Hall of Famers
If we’re trying to figure out who the first goalie elected into the professional lacrosse hall of fame will be, a reasonable place to start is the goalies already in the hall of fame.
Let’s have a look at the National Lacrosse Hall of Famers to see which might be eligible for nomination into the Pro Lacrosse Hall of Fame given these rules. Here is the list of goalies with year inducted followed by the playing years.
1992 Sterling “Skeet” Chadwick (1971-1974 Washington & Lee)
2019 Paul Schimoler (1986-1989 Cornell, Team USA 1990 and 1994, passed away 2013)
According to the eligibility requirements, the only goalie on this list of national hall of famers eligible for the professional lacrosse hall of fame is Doc.
Candidates for Pro Lacrosse Hall of Fame
With the PLL going into only its 3rd year and the eligibility rules saying you must be retired from pro lacrosse for 3 years, the first goalie entry into the pro lacrosse hall of fame will be an older MLL goalie.
Taking a look at the MLL history, here’s what we find.
Below is the list of goalies who have won multiple Goalie of the Year awards in professional lacrosse (PLL/MLL):
Adams, Gallloway, Riorden, and Sconone are all still active players and therefore ineligible. Leaving us with Cattrano, Dougherty, and Schwartzman.
Brian “Doc” Dougherty
Dougherty was a two-time, first-team All-American at the University of Maryland (1993-1996), earning the award in his junior and senior seasons.
Dougherty was a two-time recipient of the USILA’s Ensign C. Markland Kelly Jr. Award as the nation’s top goalkeeper (1995, 1996) and was named the Lt. Raymond Enners Award winner as the nation’s outstanding player in 1995.
In addition, he was MVP of the 1995 NCAA Championship after leading Maryland to a second place finish.
After college, Dougherty played nine professional seasons in Major League Lacrosse, from 2001-2009, and was an MLL All-Star six times.
He was named the MLL’s Goalie of the Year three times, winning the honor in 2003, 2006 and 2007.
Dougherty was selected as the goalie on the MLL’s All-Decade Team in 2010.
On the international level, he won two FIL World Championships as a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, capturing gold in 1998 and 2010.
He is already a member of the University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame, inducted in 2008.
Dougherty played with the Philadelphia Barrage from 2005 to 2008, played with the Long Island Lizards from 2003 to 2004 and Rochester Rattlers from 2001 to 2002.
Dougherty has been part of three Steinfeld Cup Championship teams: the Long Island Lizards in 2001, the Philadelphia Barrage in 2006, and again in 2007.
Doc also continues to coach goalies through NetNation and was a guest on my podcast way back in episode 18.
The Cat attended Brown University where he was a star goalie being named goalie of the year his senior year in 1997.
In addition he was named All-American twice. Cattrano finished his collegiate career with an amazing 68% save percentage, and his three goals still stand as the NCAA record for offensive production by a goaltender in NCAA sports.
In the MLL, Cattrano played in all five of the league’s first Championship Games from 2001 to 2005, winning the Steinfeld Cup in 2002, 2003, and 2004. That is an absolutely insane run and any lacrosse team cannot do that without great goalie play and leadership.
He won the MLL goalie of the Year 3 different times. He was also the first MLL goalie to ever score a goal.
Cattrano retired after the 2006 season, and his number “2” was retired by the Long Island Lizards in the 2007.
Prior to the MLL forming, Cattrano played club lacrosse for NYAC and represented Team USA in the 1999 World Lacrosse Championship.
Schwartzman started his career manning the pipes for the Johns Hopkins Bluejays from 2004-2008.
He was apart of the Hopkins crew that ran the table going 16-0 and winning the title in 2005. Then again in 2007.
Schwartzman was selected by the Denver Outlaws with the 39th overall pick in the 2007 Major League Lacrosse draft and had a superb professional career.
He won MLL goalie of the year in 2009 and 2013. He is the only goalie in MLL history to give up an average of fewer than 10 goals per game. In 2011, he set the GA (Goals Against) record with a 9.87 average. In 2013, he broke his own record lowering the GAA to 9.67.
Like he did in 2005 with Hopkins, in 2013 Schwartzman led the Denver Outlaws to an undefeated 14-0 season. Only the 4th North American professional sports franchise to accomplish that task.
Schwartzman announced his retirement from professional lacrosse in 2015.
Prediction for Pro Lacrosse Hall of Fame
My prediction is that the first goalie elected to the professional Hall of Fame is – Brian “Doc” Dougherty.
His collegiate record, his professional showing in the MLL, his Team USA accolades, his brief appearance in the NLL, the fact that he’s still involved in the game with coaching.
Oh and the fact that he’s already in the Hall of Fame. I think this one is a pretty clear cut case.
Edit 2/16/2022 – Wasn’t terribly hard to predict but I nailed it. Here’s the first goalie in the PLL Hall of Fame:
Lacrosse is my passion! The game has given me so much and this blog is my way of giving back to the lax community. Specifically the most bad a$$ part of that community - the goalies! After learning to play goalie from scratch, I wanted to create a site where I could share what I learned with others so they too can become champions in the crease and in life. Learn more about Coach Damon.