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An Interview with Bill Fuller, Class of `46
Conor Dwyer, Class of `09 with a sit-down chat with Bill Fuller, Class of `46
Question: When did you first start playing lacrosse? What grade?
Answer: I first picked up a stick and played around when I was 12. I played formally as a Freshman in High School.
Q: Where was your practice and playing fields?
A: We played where the Middle School field is today. The Middle School used to be the High School.
Q: Did you have referees?
A: Yes, there were refs.
Q: How were the sticks different?
A: Sticks today are much more accurate and after rain, old sticks were like playing with a tennis racket.
Q: Was there a Middle School, JV and Varsity team?
A: Everyone practiced as one big team, but on game days there were Varsity and Junior High Games. The Administration Building held grades 7 and 8.
Q: What teams did you play? How did you get to your away games?
A: We played Manhasset, Sewanhaka, Poly Prep, NY Military Academy, and West Point Plebes. Just like today, we rode the school bus to get to our away games.
Q: What was the equipment like? (Sticks, gloves, helmets) Where did you get the equipment and sticks? What were the cages made of?
A: We wore leather helmets, no shoulder pads, hockey gloves and had a wood stick with rawhide lacing. The school supplied the equipment and sticks. The cages were made out of metal pipes a lot like today's and had similar netting.
Q: What kind of kids played lacrosse?
A: Many lacrosse players were football players, but mainly anyone who liked lacrosse played.
Q: How big was the Manhasset-Garden City game back then?
A: The Manhasset Game was really big. There were large crowds of hundreds of people.
Q: What was your most memorable high school and college game?
A: High School: My senior year we beat Manhasset 5-2 in the Metropolitan Championship Game. It was a big upset. No one gave Garden City a chance.
College: Syracuse played Cornell. We were playing a terrible team game, but ended up winning 5-4. I had four of the goals and at halftime Coach said, "This goes for everyone on the field but Bill Fuller..." and went on to rip on the team.
Q: Who was the best player you saw back then in both high school and college?
A: High School: Jack Britten from Manhasset. He played goalie for two years and attack for two years. He went on to play at Syracuse.
College: A guy named Chamberlain from Navy. He was a very tall crease attackman and used a long stick. He was later killed in the war.
Q: Were there summer league teams?
A: No, most kids had jobs.
Q: How did you face off back then?
A: Similar to today but the attackmen and defensemen lined up outside a circle and could not go in until possession. They had the same rules, just a circle instead of the restraining line.
Q: What changes would you like to see in the game?
A: I would like to see Garden City getting more ground balls.
Q: What seems to still be the same?
A: The same number of players, the same crease, and the same intensity.
Q: What high school awards did you win?
A: Lacrosse: 3x All Metropolitan and Team Captain
Football: Played Varsity grades 8-12, 2x All Scholastic and All Metropolitan, Team Captain
Basketball: All Scholastic and Team Captain
Won the Walter Gallagher Trophy for the best High School Athlete
Q: What were your lacrosse stats like in high school?
A: I was a defenseman in high school so not many points.
Q: What were your lacrosse stats like in college?
A: I played attack, midfield and defense - wherever they needed me. I averaged 2-4 goals per game.
Q: What awards did you win in college?
A: I won the Laurie Cox Award twice (most outstanding player), was a 3 year All-American, and I am in the Syracuse Hall of Fame, Long Island Hall of Fame, Garden City Hall of Fame, and National Hall of Fame.