Hall of Famer Jerry Schnydman, 77, Dies of Cancer

Jerry Schnydman, a three-time All-American as a dominant faceoff specialist and midfielder at Johns Hopkins and a 2003 inductee to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, died Monday after a long bout with cancer. He was 77.

A Baltimore native who graduated from Baltimore City College High School, Schnydman arrived at Hopkins in 1963 and played on the varsity team from 1965-67. He earned first-team All-American honors in both 1966 and 1967 and helped the Blue Jays to the 1967 USILA national championship while serving as captain of the team, which finished with an 11-1 record.

Schnydman twice earned the George D. Penniman Trophy, presented annually to the top midfielder at Johns Hopkins, and he twice earned the Henry Ciccarone Award for leading the team in ground balls. Upon graduation, Schnydman was named to the All-Time Johns Hopkins Team.

“When I was accepted to Hopkins my senior year at City College, it was a dream come true,”  Schnydman told The Johns Hopkins News-Letter in 2017, when he and other members of the 1967 team were recognized at Homewood Field on the 50th anniversary of their national title. “When I began playing lacrosse at 12 years old, I would take two buses to get to Homewood every weekend for the game. Playing for Hopkins is something I will always cherish.”

In 1968, Schnydman began serving as an assistant coach at Hopkins and he tutored every faceoff specialist at Homewood from 1968-1990. In all, Schnydman spent the better part of five decades at Johns Hopkins, first as a student-athlete, then in undergraduate admissions, alumni relations and finally in the president's office, where he served as executive assistant to the president and secretary of the board of trustees from 1998 until his retirement in June 2012.

On the eve of Schnydman's retirement, the university announced that the atrium of the Brody Learning Commons would be named the Schnydman Atrium in his honor. As a colorful and beloved fixture on campus, he is remembered fondly as an iconic member of the Hopkins community.

“There was simply no one like Jerry Schnydman. He gave his all to his beloved alma mater from the moment he walked onto Homewood Field to the moment he left the President's Office for the last time. Bringing unceasing optimism and joie de vivre to every situation, Jerry could and would talk to anybody, freely and generously giving his wise counsel to generations of Hopkins students, colleagues, and of course, presidents, including me on occasions too numerous to count,” JHU President Ron Daniels said.

In addition to his induction to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Schnydman was also a member of the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame, the Baltimore City College High School Hall of Fame and the USA Lacrosse Greater Baltimore Chapter Hall of Fame.

“He admitted me to college, became a mentor, supporter no matter what and true friend,” former Johns Hopkins player and coach and current Syracuse assistant Dave Pietramala tweeted Monday. “Few have impacted so many.”

Schnydman is survived by his wife of 54 years, Tammy, son Andy, daughter Becky and four grandchildren.

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