Coach Bordley leads Landon to the team’s 500th win, 9th US coach to reach that number

 As noted in the Landon Magazine, Summer 2000, p.13, a remarkable achievement went unrecognized by a number of people– a further proof the individual’s character and modesty. The below piece was written in anticipation of his attaining that mark, but has been held until notice was given by Landon. Here is an inadequate compilation of all the details that define the  EXCELLENCE of Robinson M. Bordley, Landon 1966.

In 1971 a young Princeton grad, who learned how to play lacrosse in college, started the first boys varsity program in the DC area. He won 3 games that season and now 39 years later, Coach Bordley has led his boys to the 500th victory with him at the helm (Rob would never claim that he won any of those games). According to research done by Christian Swezey, the lead lacrosse sports writer of the Washington Post and one of the most highly regarded reporters for InsideLacrosse.com, there are ONLY EIGHT OTHER high school boys lacrosse coaches to have attained that the lofty number of 500 wins in the United States. This is a short tribute to the career of the US Lacrosse Potomac Chapter Hall of Fame 2004 inductee ( http://uslacrossepotomac.org/z_hof_bordley_pchf.htm)[this website includes all the  athletic awards that Rob has achieved and which if repeated here, would embarrass the Coach; one important data point not mentioned in that link was that Robbie earned 17 varsity letters in his years at Landon].

 

This post will be limited to notes from  some of players and a few coaches who know the Coach.

COACH BORDLEY’S BOYS

R.Bordley counsels A.Bordley in a critical moments

More than any number of wins, it is fair to assume the number that means the most to Coach Bordley is the  over 400 boys whom he has coached since 1971. While the Coach has delivered some of his messages with a certain intensity (the fire that drives the Coach), after such a moment, the boy knows that his coach cares very much about every player on the team. When asked to contribute some of her favorite pictures of her husband, she sent her photo of her son hearing from his Dad.

Teddy Lamade, Landon Player (Post  player of the year in 2000), wrote on behalf of a bunch of his team mates:

Coach Bordley’s achievements over the last three decades are clearly impressive, but there is something about him that seems to have gone unsaid, but certainly not unnoticed. His uncanny ability to read his players and coach them accordingly has allowed him to get the most out of all of us. This can be a fine line to walk, but he has nearly perfected it. Whether it was tough love with David Taylor, mental games with Justin Duffie, or before the 1997 Prep Game getting Parker Anger and Drew Tannenbaum to believe they were as good as Ryan Curtis, Coach Bordley has been able to customize his coaching method for each player in order to maximize their potential. This isn’t to say he didn’t break some of us down. I, for one, fell into that camp. Kevin Shooshan was another. He and I practically spent our entire freshman season consumed by the fear of getting “veined”, but it was exactly what we needed. It was a rite of passage and if you were able to get through it, you came out on the other side a much better player and person. Perfection was what he demanded and is how he eclipsed the monumental 500 wins plateau and 22 straight IAC Championships. Coach Bordley was a large part of my high school career as a coach, teacher, and advisor. What began as intimidation, turned to respect, and eventually became some of the fondest memories of my time at Landon.  Thank you and congratulations Coach.

Mark Kovler, Landon player[2005 1st team All Met,studying for MCATs and working for Landon Dad (Dr. Eichelberger), took time to write the following to Coach Bordley, on behalf of his teammates:

Coach Bordley has fathered a brotherhood of Landon lacrosse players through over 500 wins.  Not a day goes by that we don’t think about what a privilege it was to take part in that tradition.  Coach Bordley is a great coach not only because of his successful record, but also because of the relationships he fosters on his team. Players and coaches alike form lifelong relationships while playing at Landon.  Being a Landon lacrosse player does not end at graduation.  The experience he creates is something that stays with you your whole life.

I believe there are two reasons why people love playing for Coach Bordley: he wins, and he has fun doing it. There is no doubt; Bordley instills a strong work ethic and intensity in his players.  However, a less recognized but as important aspect of the program is the sense of humor that he brings to the team.  To this day, the members of our team remain best friends and repeat our favorite “Bordley stories” to no end.  It is no rarity to see ten of us huddled around the TV watching the 2006 four-overtime game DVD or the documentary “Just Another Game”.  Most people would probably tell us to “move on”, but it is simply the best evidence that we continue to treasure the time we spent playing for Coach Bordley.  Thank you, Coach Bordley, for creating such an amazing lifelong experience.  Congratulations! Mark Kovler, Class of 2005″

********************************************************

HIS COACHES

Rob has had the good sense to surround himself with a number of very talented assistants and to associate himself with some of the very most able college coaches. Here are just a few of Rob’s colleagues who have been kind enough to send congratulatory messages (again, thanks  to Donna for these two pictures)

From Rick Kirschner (see picture on the left, Rick is coach on far left), Landon player {1983 MVP}, Landon Coach, now Upper School Head, Oak Hall School:

Rob, you mean so much to so many of us who you coached.  Your commitment to excellence makes it no surprise that you hit the 500 win mark.  More important than the wins are the lessons you have taught both on and off the field.  They span the spectrum.   When things get tough, it is your unique voice that we hear urging us onward.  And when things are good, you taught us that one good prank deserves another.  It was just really fun to play for you and coach with you.  In between the hard work and trying to be our best, you told great stories and we had many laughs.  The bus escapades are legendary whether it was hitting the historic gate at Boys Latin or missing the DC exit and only realizing it 30 miles later on the way back from a big win at Loyola.   Championships don’t come along that often in life.  You taught us what it takes to become a champion and how to act like one when we get there.  600 is only a couple years away.  It couldn’t happen to a better coach or a better person.  Good luck the rest of the season.  Oh yeah …… Beat Prep!

Rick Kirschner

 *********************************************************************

From Jack Crawford principal assistant to Rob for 11 years and now the very successful head lacrosse coach at Loyola Blakefield in Baltimore

 

Rob Bordley’s legacy extends far beyond his 500 game victories and innumerable titles spanning nearly 40 years of coaching.  His true legacy is far more important and enduring than numbers in any won-loss column.  The greatest tribute to Rob is the long term effect he has had on scores of young men who have left Landon to employ the principles the school and community are built on:  honor, commitment to achievement, personal accountability, and a willingness to subordinate personal achievement for the team’s goals.  Rob always told our players “We’re only as strong as our weakest link” and his ability to make each boy understand the importance of not being the weak link that undermines the team’s goals was one of his greatest abilities as leader.  In 11 years of coaching with Rob, I cannot remember one week going by without some former player, or student, dropping by practice to say hello, wish the team good luck, and in so doing thank Rob for guidance and lessons learned years before.  That is his record, his portfolio, his legacy, and one that deserves great admiration and praise.   

Jack Crawford

 

The College Coaches

Coach Bordley’s lacrosse players are on the rosters of many Division I and III teams. His boys are heavily recruited not only because they are talented, but they come extraordinarily well prepared for the college game.  The most current techniques are taught to his Bears; because on a cold spring day, Rob can be seen at Klockner Stadium, taking notes about what the leading edge college coaches are teaching.

Thanks to Christian Swezey, the lead lacrosse writer of The Washington Post and a most knowledgeable reporter at InsideLacrosse.com, we have quotes from two of the most respected college lacrosse coaches (both are retired; NCAA recruiting rules prohibit their coaches from commenting on HS coaches as a way of influencing the players to come to their institutions!!!) 

From Dick Edell, longtime coach at Maryland with 282 Terp wins and a member of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Edell recruited JR Bordley among other Landon grads. Coach Edell said: 

“I remember we’d be practicing in January in horrible weather and Rob Bordley would call me in the morning and ask if, after classes [at Landon] could he come over and watch us practice? And we’d look over at him and there he was, in the worst weather imaginable, writing notes furiously on a legal pad. I think he must’ve filled that legal pad.  

“The number of kids Rob has had have become better players because of him but they’ve also become better people. He’s a right guy and does things the right way. 

“Up here in Baltimore we think we’ve cornered the market on high school lacrosse. But I don’t know of any greater environment than the Landon-Georgetown Prep game. It’s not a game, it’s a happening.”   

“Rob is Landon lacrosse, for goodness sakes.”

**********

 Bob Scott, the head coach at Hopkins for 20 years, author of  THE lax textbook , a member of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame, and coached the Blue Jays against Robbie Bordley, the Princeton midfielder.

He tells the story of one of his coaching clinics at Johns Hopkins in the 1970s. The clinic used to draw high school coaches from all around Baltimore, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. The one year a blizzard hit on the same day as the clinic. Scott lived not far from the Johns Hopkins campus and he had shown up to put up a sign saying that the clinic was canceled. 

 Except that one coach had braved the elements and made it to Baltimore: Rob Bordley.

*****************************************************************************************************************************

Numbers can be misleading, but the following quantification of Rob’s impact is impressive. Though the 2010 season, Coach Bordley’s teams have achieved a record of 522 wins and 86 losses or an 85% winning percentage. During his tenure at Landon, the Bears have

  • accumulated 28  IAC championships,
  • been ranked #1 in the nation 3 times by US Lacrosse and then Inside Lacrosse (1999, 2001, 2002),
  • been undefeated 3 times (1988, 1992, 2002)
  • been ranked 15 times as the #1 team in the Metro area (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004),
  • competed well against high level competition :MIAA, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois and California teams and
  • been named High School All Americans 31 times.

Landon’s alumni have carried Rob’s lessons onto the Division I and III levels and accumulated the following accolades:

 

  • 28 College All Americans
  • 22 College Captains
  • 21 NCAA Championship Rings
  • 1 Tewaaraton Trophy winner
  • 1 NCAA Defensive Player of the Year
  • 1 Lt. Raymond Enners Award USILA‘s Player of the Year

Rob’s exceptional teaching has inspired many of his players to continue his tradition by coaching at the college, high school and youth levels. Secondary in Rob’s mind to these achievements is that he has been selected Coach of the Year three times (1988,1992,1999) by the Washington Post.

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************ON ON BEHALF OF ALL

 BEAR ALUMS, PARENTS, FACULTY, COACHES

AND FANS

CONGRATULATIONS

COACH BORDLEY

 ON

# 500 plus

 

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Published in: on November 1, 2010 at 5:53 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] Coach Bordley leds Landon to the team’s 500th win, 9th US coach to reach that number November 2010 5 […]

  2. Coach Bordley,

    Teddy, Mark, Ricky and Jack captured your coaching and impact. Although I recall every moment of the “veining” post St Paul’s in 1984 and the unique and directed motivation at halftime of McDonough in 1985, I realize that you wanted us and me to be and do our best. Excellence, commitment, hard work, class and integrity. Those values last lifetimes.

    You are one of the most important people in my and our lives. We are working hard to pay it forward in California.

    Matt Holleran ’85


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