US Lacrosse Journal has partnered with Blaxers Weblog to supply a sequence of tales that illuminate the minority lacrosse expertise and promote the accomplishments of these people who’ve defied stereotypes to achieve the game.
Leaders aren’t outlined by talent; they’re measured by their skill to carry up others. The late Edward Taylor Coombs exemplified each side of what management represents. His infectious spirit lit each room he walked into as he pushed others to be higher variations of themselves.
Tragedy struck the lacrosse neighborhood in 2011 when the Marist freshman was a passenger in a DUI-related automobile accident and died in his hometown of Horsham, Pa. Coombs’ household and mates took the initiative to inform his story whereas persevering with his mission.
EDWARD TAYLOR COOMBS
Hometown: Horsham, Pa.
School: Marist (2011)
Excessive Faculty: Hatboro-Horsham (2007-10)
Eric and Forrestine Coombs instilled the values of initiative and humility into each of their youngsters. These elements strengthened the roots of an everlasting customary. Information of Black historical past and paternal Barbadian heritage had been fixed classes Edward and Erin Coombs discovered motivation in.
“Our dad and mom raised us the identical, and we had been all the time in sync,” Erin Coombs stated. “It was necessary for us to study concerning the sacrifices our grandparents made to get right here.”
Erin Coombs had a good bond together with her late brother, as he protected all through her life. As youngsters, the duo would talk by way of the wall that separated their rooms. When touring on trip or attending household capabilities, their connection was inseparable. Erin yearned for the massive metropolis, however Edward loved being a small-town determine in Horsham.
“He liked being recognized in sure locations with out being cocky about it,” Erin Coombs stated. “A little bit of himself was all over the place.”
Beginning within the fifth grade, Edward started taking part in lacrosse and immediately fell in love. He later performed journey lacrosse for Insurgent Elite.
As a youngster, he mentored Duke attackman Michael Sowers whereas taking part in beneath Sowers’ father, David, at Hatboro-Horsham. Michael Sowers elaborated on his mentor’s affect throughout an interview final yr on “The Time & House Podcast,” hosted by Nazareth alumni Francis Donald and Jordan Hirsh.
“He was one in every of my favourite gamers rising up, and I idolized him on and off the sector by the best way he carried himself,” Sowers stated. “I watched him play soccer and produce these strikes to lacrosse. I attempted to do this, too.”
As a senior in highschool, Coombs was named convention MVP and an all-state choice after guiding his group to a league championship and state match berth.
“He was one in every of my favourite gamers rising up, and I idolized him on and off the sector by the best way he carried himself.” — Michael Sowers
MAKING THE GRADE
As a youth, Edward discovered a love for studying, as each of his grandmothers served as educators. One served as a particular schooling trainer, and the opposite was a highschool enterprise teacher. In the course of the summer time, they’d summon him from taking part in with mates to study from flash playing cards and full workbooks.
“He was an avid reader who wasn’t afraid to ask for assist,” Erin Coombs stated.
Whereas he developed his expertise at Hatboro-Horsham, Coombs was a constant honor roll scholar. His principal appointed him to hitch the Nationwide Youth Management Discussion board on Regulation and Crime Scene Investigations (CSI) occasion in Washington, D.C. The six-day aggressive regulation program consisted of hands-on authorized coaching, instruction from regulation college school and interactions with high regulation professionals in courthouse settings.
Later as adults, the Coombs siblings had invaluable conversations relating to life objectives, encouraging one another of their collegiate research. Edward aspired to turn out to be a lawyer as soon as he graduated from Marist. Erin accomplished her Political Science and Authorities, Historical past and City Planning bachelor’s diploma from the College of Pittsburgh.
After finishing his freshman yr at Marist, Coombs was one of many youngest interns on the Montgomery County district legal professional’s workplace in Pennsylvania. Lacrosse was the bridge towards his future, and he totally understood what his trajectory as a younger Black man meant to those that regarded as much as him.
IMPACT AT MARIST
Coombs cemented his position as a pure chief and Marist legend by leaving all of it out on the sector. His unwavering dedication motivated many to observe. Erin Coombs, the late star’s sister, defined how he matured at Marist.
“Marist was like household to him, and the small city vibe was a match,” she stated. “Marist supplied him a push past the place we grew up and know the brand new neighborhood he started to like.”
Marist head coach Keegan Wilkinson had a profound affect on Coombs within the early phases of his recruitment. Wilkinson’s persona made Coombs really feel at house, and Marist grew to become the clear alternative following his commencement from Hatboro-Horsham. Coombs impressed this system’s gradual rise, Wilkinson stated.
“If an informal fan went to a sport, they’d stroll away saying they liked seeing Eddie Coombs play,” Wilkinson stated. “He performed with a relentless angle and went after each play prefer it was his final. He was a dynamic man who held on each phrase and invested in our group.”
Coombs battled a hamstring harm throughout most of his freshman season, however he performed each scheduled shift. Regardless of his situation, he willed Marist to a few extra time wins and scored his first collegiate aim in this system’s first-ever ranked victory over Albany. By season’s finish, Coombs had recorded 25 floor balls and 16 prompted turnovers.
“Eddie by no means backed down from a problem, and it was one of many pillars we nonetheless carry at this time,” Wilkinson stated. “Eddie means every part to us, and receiving the 34 jersey is the best honor in our program. We’re lucky that he set the bar for us.”
“Unbelievable” was the widespread descriptor utilized by Coombs’ Marist teammates and coaches. Present Marist upperclassmen yearly educate the younger gamers of Coombs’ legacy and the teachings he taught this system, though they by no means met him themselves — a real testomony to his legacy.
Because of this, underclassmen usually really feel as in the event that they had been longtime mates of Coombs. As a practice, Marist gamers periodically ship phrases of encouragement to the Coombs household by way of letters and textual content messages. Even on birthdays and holidays, the Crimson Foxes exit of their technique to present appreciation and dedication to the Coombs household.
Michael Linehan elaborated on the shut occasions he spent with Coombs whereas taking part in at Marist. Linehan is now a senior account govt for Remerge, a advertising and promoting firm.
“He introduced this power and rawness that was outstanding,” Linehan stated. “Eddie had each high quality that you simply’d need in a student-athlete. As nice of a expertise Eddie was, he was 10 occasions higher of a person by the best way he cared for different folks.”
In 2012, Marist preserved Coombs’ locker as a memorial and named the excellent freshman award after him. Inside the plexiglass show, Edward’s white 34 jersey is flanked between his gloves and cleats. An motion photograph sits beneath his jersey as crimson and white Marsist helmets converge in entrance. A poetry show is stationed above the Coombs’ jersey subsequent to his nameplate.
Former teammate, Jack Kensil had an in depth bond with the late star and modelled his coaching firm, 2 Wolves Efficiency after Coombs’ ideas and talent. He takes day out of each session to share a life lesson that Coombs lived by to his purchasers.
“Eddie made the sport enjoyable and would put a smile in your face at 5 a.m.,” Jack Kensil stated. “He performed at one velocity — sooner than all people else. The proudest second of my profession was carrying Eddie’s flag on senior day in 2012. He has a big impact on me in my each day life.”