With its origins in a tribal game played by the indigenous peoples, lacrosse is the oldest organized sport in North America.
Still, today lacrosse community is growing day by day, from new Outdoor lacrosse fields or indoor rinks, evergrowing leagues like MLLs, and new participation at the collegiate level.
If considering all-time tops here are the top 10 best lacrosse players: With its origins in a tribal game played by eastern Woodlands Native Americans and some Plains Indian tribes in what is now the United States of America and Canada, lacrosse is one of the oldest organized sports in North America.
The game was extensively modified by European settlers to create its current collegiate and professional form.
Today, the lacrosse community is growing day by day, with new outdoor lacrosse fields and indoor rinks, ever-growing leagues like Major League Lacrosse (MLL), and increased participation at the collegiate level.
If considering all-time tops here are the top 10 best lacrosse players:
10. Jason Coffman
The Salisbury Seagulls are considered one of the best DIII lacrosse programs in history, having won 12 national titles since head coach Jim Berkman’s arrival ahead of the 1989 season.
Jason Coffman has been involved in the culture of this program for many years and became a part of this lacrosse history.
He played at Salisbury from 1993-1996 and was a vital part of the Seagulls’ ascension into the national spotlight during the early to mid-1990s.
Coffman was a part of Salisbury’s first two national titles (1994,1995), which capped off back-to-back undefeated seasons.
Not only that but this legendary lacrosse player has also been involved with another lacrosse program, named Carthage boys’ lacrosse program.
He spent much of his life in this program. Coffman started his career as a lacrosse player at Salisbury University from 1993 to 1996, and during the mid-90s he played an important role in the ascension of Seagulls into the national spotlight.
It is thought that Coffman’s stick was magic and had a firm hand. So without being the fastest player, we know him as a legendary lacrosse player all over the world.
He ended his career at Salisbury as the NCAA’s all-time career points leader with 451.
That record still stands to this very day.
He is now working as a coach at many levels at school and college.
Now he serves as the head boy’s lacrosse and football coach at Carthage High School.
9. Jim Thorpe
Considered one of the best athletes of the 20th Century, Jim Thorpe won the pentathlon and decathlon in the 1912 Summer Olympics.
However, due to some technicality, his gold medals were revoked after it was found he had been paid for playing two seasons of semi-professional baseball before competing in the Olympics which was a clear violation of the rules.
In 1983, 30 years after his death, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) restored his Olympic medals with replicas.
Achievements and accomplishments throughout his life speak louder than words.
The King of Sweden at that time, Gustav V, did not hesitate to honor this most outstanding athlete, “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world.”
Born on May 28, 1887, in Oklahoma, Thorpe played both baseball and football professionally.
He was an outfielder for the New York, Cincinnati (Ohio), and Boston baseball teams in the National League from 1913 through 1919. He was more successful as one of the early stars of American professional football from 1919 through 1926.
After retirement, he pursued acting as a career. From the very beginning, his athletic ability was apparent to him. And while at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, he set different track records. He was remembered for beating some of the best teams in the nation like the Army, Pittsburgh, Harvard, Penn, Syracuse, and Nebraska.
8. Oren Lyons
Known as a Native American Faith keeper of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nations, Oren Lyons is one of the recognized members of the Onondaga and the Seneca nations.
A highly recognized college lacrosse player at Syracuse University during his undergraduate years, Lyons later became increasingly active as an advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples.
He is now working as an activist for indigenous and environmental justice and has worked with many communities across the world.
Born and raised on Onondaga and Seneca reservations, Oren Lyons joined the US Army before getting a Syracuse University scholarship.
He played lacrosse for Syracuse University, where he was awarded the Orange Key for his academic and athletic accomplishments.
After completing graduation from the university with a degree in fine arts, he played for club teams for many years.
Lacrosse is considered a traditional sport for Iroquois. Like other Iroquois, his childhood dream was also to be a lacrosse player.
After finishing his education, this famous activist started his career in commercial art in New York City.
He has done a lot of work for indigenous and backward people throughout his life.
Now Lyons is recognized all over the world as an advocate of indigenous rights.
7. John Grant Sr.
John Grant Sr is a popular name all over the world as a lacrosse player who won many records in his career.
He is a product of Peterborough lacrosse from 1969 to 1992 playing Junior, Senior, and in the pro ranks.
His magic Lacrosse Stick helped him to participate in various championships like one Minto Cup Championship, three Mann Cups, and a World Field Lacrosse Championship in 1978.
The father of current Peterborough Lakers Major League Lacrosse’s MVP John Grant Jr., John Grant Sr spent his major lacrosse career with Peterborough.
From 1973 to 1992, Grant Sr played for the Canada Men’s Field Lacrosse Team in 1978, 1982, and 1986 internationally.
In 1984, John received the title “the Senior Male Athlete of the Year” from Peterborough, which is considered one of the best awards and respect of his career.
Grant was the only person who received both Minto (1972) and Mann Cup (1984) MVP awards.
The name of this legendary lacrosse player was introduced into the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1997.
6. Jimmy Lewis
Jimmy Lewis, full name James C. Lewis, is still regarded as a legend in lacrosse.
Lewis was an All-American lacrosse player who played for the Navy from 1964 to 1966.
Originally from Long Island, Jimmy joined the Naval Academy and helped bring change in the way he played lacrosse.
While in the Navy, Lewis led three straight USILA National Championships from 1964 to 1966.
The team was undefeated in these three seasons, and he won Jack Turnbull Award as the best attackman in the nation.
During his days in the Navy, he also received the title “The Greatest Living Lacrosse man” from the Baltimore Sun.
This great player was introduced into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1981.
In 2014, he received Tewaaraton Legends Award, given by Tewaaraton Foundation.
5. Dave Pietramala
Dave Pietramala is considered the all-time winning coach in school history.
He is considered the heart of the Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team.
Apart from this, this legendary men’s lacrosse coach spent four years of his career as a standout defenseman for the Blue Jays from 1986 through 1989.
Dave Pietramala entered his 20th season as the head lacrosse coach of one of the most successful college teams in 2020.
He achieved many programs throughout his career as a lacrosse player, such as 44 national championships, 46 NCAA Tournament appearances, nine NCAA titles, and 184 First Team All-Americans, which is desirable to others.
After joining Pietramala in 2000, Blue Jays began their journey to victory.
Dave Pietramala was selected by Johns Hopkins, President William Brody, and Director of Athletics Tom Calder, who knew very well that they gave the team the right hand to guide.
4. Michael Powell
Michael Powell (Mikey Powell) is recognized as one of the best lacrosse players of this century.
Four times winner of the Jack Turnbull Award as the top attackman in Division I lacrosse, this legendary player created a record when he was on top of his career points.
Michael Powell is the only player from Syracuse who won the W.H. Brine Award 2 times (a record).
Apart from Syracuse, he also played for the US in 2002 and 2006. He created many records throughout his career.
He was a four-time All-American and selected for the NCAA All-Tournament team three times and was named Most Valuable Player at the 2005 Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game.
Coming from a mediocre family, still, Michael Powell is recognized as a dream maker in the field of lacrosse.
A four-time finalist for the famous Tewaaraton Trophy, Powell is one of two male players across the globe who won the Heisman Trophy twice.
3. Paul Rabil
Whenever we talk about world-famous lacrosse players, Paul Rabil’s name comes up naturally.
Born on December 14, 1985, this young Lacrosse player started his career at 12.
When he was in school, he started playing with several best young players of the state who have come from a strong lacrosse background.
In 2004, After starting his career as a professional lacrosse player, Paul became a four-time winner of the WCAC Championship and received the title of Player of the Year from the Washington Post.
He was an award-winning midfielder when he was at University. He has received multiple MLL MVP titles like ‘Offensive Player of the Year.’
In 2008, his MLL career began with the Boston Cannons, and he also competed in the MLL All-Star Game the same year.
Rabil knew very well that success is not an accident; therefore, he trained himself every day.
Now he has become a novice to give something back to sports which have given him so much.
So he hosts various types of camps and clinics to train the next-generation lacrosse player.
Rabil scored three goals on August 8, 2015, and three assists in an MLL Steinfeld Cup Championship game when the Lizards defeated the Rochester Rattlers 15-12.
This made Paul Rabil a two-time champion in the Steinfeld Cup when he ended the season with 29 goals and 20 assists. He was named Coca-Cola Player of the Game MVP of the championship.
2. Jim Brown
Starting his career as a professional football player, actor, and sports analyst, Jim Brown is known as a multi-talented person all over the world and probably one of the first black players to get the spotlight playing multiple sports.
Considered one of the best Gridiron football players of the century, Jim Brown led the National Football League (NFL) in rushing for eight of his nine seasons.
Jim Brown was also considered one of the best running backs of all time.
James Nathaniel Brown was born on February 17, 1936, on an island off the southern coast of Georgia named St. Simons Island and he spent his childhood in a struggle.
But he did not give up hope. The primary job of this superb craftsman was to play for Cleveland Browns. He retired at the peak of his career, at the age of 30.
After retirement in 1966, he started his acting career in films like The Dirty Dozen, Kenner, and Ice Station Zebra and later he focused on sports analysis and black business empowerment.
1. Gary Gait
Gary Gait is one of the most famous names as a lacrosse players all over the world.
Full name Gary Charles Gait, Gait is currently working as head coach of the Syracuse University men’s lacrosse team.
He is a three-time winner of NCAA titles as a player for Syracuse (1988-90) and was a 10-time NCAA champion.
Gait also worked as an assistant coach of the women’s lacrosse team at Maryland from 1995-01.
Well-known all over the world for his athletic spirit, he enjoyed success at every level of the game. No matter how challenging the game was, he never gave up hope.
While on the team at Syracuse, he earned three times first-team All-America honors and helped the Orange team to win three NCAA titles.
In those years, he also won the award named “Player of the Year” twice, and in 2004 and 2005, he received the NLL Sportsmanship Award twice.
During his career, he achieved many NLL scoring records.
The Orangemen defeated Cornell Big Red 13-8 for the first of their three straight NCAA titles in the 1988 NCAA lacrosse championship played at Syracuse University. This Syracuse team is notorious for being undefeated and featuring the brothers’ Gait, Paul Gait, and lacrosse Hall-of-Famer Tom Marechek.
The NCAA tournament where Gary Gait took his famous “Air Gait” shot at the University of Pennsylvania in a tight semi-final game is also significant.
The athletes listed above are among the greatest lacrosse players of all time.
Their talent, dedication, and love for the game have won them an honored place in history and in the emotions of lacrosse fans around the world.
These players have made an indelible impact on the sport of lacrosse, from establishing benchmarks to winning multiple championships.
While many other talented players could have made this list, these ten stick out for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the game.
They serve as an inspiration to aspiring lacrosse players, as well as a reflection of the amazing skill and athleticism found in this interestingly different sport.