The Most Influential Figures in Black Lacrosse History

US Lacrosse Magazine has partnered with Blaxers Blog to produce a series of stories that illuminate the minority lacrosse experience and promote the accomplishments of those individuals who have defied stereotypes to succeed in the sport.

Read more about Blaxers Blog and the content partnership here.

Black lacrosse players and coaches have influenced lacrosse for almost a century. From the stories of Lucien Alexis Jr. in the 1940s to the achievements of professional lacrosse stars today, Black men and women have made significant impacts on this sport’s community and history.

To kick off US Lacrosse Magazine’s Black History Month campaign, Brian Simpkins of Blaxers Blog shines a light on some of the most important figures in the progress of the Black lacrosse community.

This list represents contributions both on and off the field to make this game accessible and exciting for everyone. Later this month, we’ll highlight the Black men and women currently making their marks to impact the future of the sport and the world.

The below names are listed alphabetically.

Syd “The Squid” Abernethy

Abernethy blew by opposing defensemen with a head and shoulder fake, leading him to accrue 141 points in his four-year career at Navy (1978-81). After his illustrious career, the Annapolis native served in the U.S. Navy until retiring in 2007. He was the second Black player to earn All-American honors.

Lucien Alexis Jr.

Alexis Jr. might be the first Black college lacrosse player. He was a member of Harvard’s men’s lacrosse team in 1941 when Navy refused to play on the same field as a Black man. This incident was one of many thought to have persuaded President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to sign Executive Order 8802 that prohibited racial discrimination in the defense industry. Alexis Jr. was eventually accepted to Harvard Medical School.

The Alford Brothers

Harry Alford was a two-time All-American goalie at Maryland, winning ACC tournament MVP in 2005. He was also the starting goalie for the 2003 U.S. U19 world championship team. Thomas Alford played four seasons as a middie and faceoff man for the Terps. The two brothers have helped fund a number of initiatives in the lacrosse world, including the launch of Lacrosse Playground.

Mike Banks

Banks starred as a defenseman for Albany from 2008-11, starting 43 games over his career. After his career, Banks helped run a lacrosse program in the Upstate New York area and spoke with programs about his early life struggles. He also starred in the popular film “Crooked Arrows.”

Bryan Beverly

Beverly played for the illustrious Morgan State program in the mid-1970s. In 2020, he created a resourceful Facebook page that showcased the Ten Bears’ legacy. Beverly is deeply devoted to HBCU and Black lacrosse history.

Sam Bradman

A four-year star for Salisbury, Bradman won National Player of the Year in 2012 after scoring 71 goals. He finished his career with 201 goals before joining the LXM Pro Tour and spending time in the NLL with the Georgia Swarm.

Jim Brown

Considered by many the greatest lacrosse player of all-time, Brown starred at Manhasset (N.Y.) and later Syracuse. Brown was a two-time All-American with the Orangemen (1956-57), scoring 43 goals in 10 games in 1957. He has kept in touch with the game of lacrosse since his football career ended, recently joining as an advisor to the Premier Lacrosse League. His son, Aris Brown, will play for Hampton.

Lloyd Carter

Carter notably coached Hampton during its first three NCAA seasons (2016-19). The Blax Lax co-founder and Morgan State graduate mentored generations of Baltimore talent. 

John Christmas

Christmas was a two-time All-American at Virginia from 2002-05, winning the 2003 NCAA title. From there, he launched a successful pro career, playing four seasons for the Philadelphia Wings and six in MLL. He also spent time coaching at De La Salle (Calif.) High School, Penn and Uganda Lacrosse.

Bill Daye

Daye was the goalie for NCAA champion North Carolina in 1991 before graduating and starring in post-collegiate lacrosse with Brine LC and in Major League Lacrosse’s inaugural season. He also made his mark in the coaching game, joining Brian Silcott as the MLL’s first Black head coaches in 2006. He led the Boston Cannons to the MLL championship in 2011. He is on the US Lacrosse Foundation Board of Directors.

Joe “Flaky” Fowlkes

The Morgan State midfielder was a three-time All-American (1976-78) and 1976 Division II scoring champion (61). In 1978, Fowlkes was the first Black player featured on the NCAA Lacrosse Guide.

Cherie Greer Brown

This Virginia defensive legend won two NCAA championships (1991, 1993) and was awarded first-team All-America honors three times. The three-time world champion (1993, 1997, 2001) became a National Lacrosse Hall of Famer in 2009.

The Harrisons

One of the top father-son duos in lacrosse history, Dr. Miles Harrison and son Kyle Harrison have helped shape the game for decades. The elder Harrison starred at Morgan State in the early 1970s, captaining the Ten Bears his senior year. Kyle Harrison won a national championship at Johns Hopkins before having a successful pro lacrosse career in the MLL and PLL. The youngest Harrison now serves as the Director of Player Relations and Diversity & Inclusion for the PLL.

HBCU All-Star Lacrosse Showcase (2013)

The US Lacrosse sponsored event showcased HBCU club and youth lacrosse all-star games at Howard University. The showcase is considered the largest meeting of players in Black lacrosse history.

Hobart’s “Soul Patrol”

One of the most influential midfield units in the game’s history. Malcolm Anderson, Ray “Tiny” Crawford and Mark “Skip” Darden were the three men who helped lead Hobart to four consecutive national titles (1984-87) and changed the way coaches saw the game forever. Read more here.

Wayne Jackson

Jackson was a three-time All-American midfielder for Morgan State, playing from 1970-73. After his playing career, Jackson became the athletic director at Baltimore’s Northwestern High School, helping grow the game among inner-city youth.

Elaine Jones

The 20-year coaching veteran has cultivated the women’s ranks at Longwood and UC Davis. Jones was a 1991 national champion at Virginia and a four-time member of the U.S. women’s national team.

Lincoln University Women’s Lacrosse Team (1971)

Lincoln University of Pennsylvania was the first HBCU to field a women’s lacrosse program. During the team’s lone season, Tina Sloan Green launched her Hall of Fame coaching career with the Lions.

Ginger Miles

Miles starred in goal at Virginia, leading the Cavaliers to ACC championships in 2005 and 2006 and stepping in during the 2004 championship season. Since then, she’s made stops as a coach at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Cal before serving as a US Lacrosse board member and regional manager.

Jovan Miller

Miller was a two-time All-American at Syracuse, helping the Orange win national titles in 2008 and 2009. He played pro lacrosse in both MLL and NLL before becoming a teacher in the Syracuse area, educating students and the lacrosse community about racial issues around the world.

Jessy Morgan

Morgan served eight seasons as head coach at George Mason (2015-20) and Howard (2009-10). She won the 2004 national championship and was named All-American three times at Virginia. She’s now an athletic director at Garrison Forest School (Md.).


Tina Sloan Green was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1997.

Morgan State Men’s Lacrosse Team (1981)

Morgan State’s final varsity team earned notable Division I victories over Georgetown, Notre Dame and Villanova. The Ten Bears finished third nationally in the Division II rankings, the highest in the HBCU’s history.

Fred Opie

Opie’s blog and podcast are important references in learning more about Black lacrosse history. The former Herkimer CC and Syracuse great was the first Black player on the U.S. men's team, winning a gold medal in 1990.

Eboni Preston-Laurent

St. Bonaventure’s most winningest goaltender (22) ended her career as the 2008 Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year. Since 2013, Preston-Laurent has worked at US Lacrosse to further diversity, equity and inclusion in the sport. Last year, she was promoted to Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Sankofa Lacrosse Alliance Ambassadors (2013)

What started in 2013 as an all-Black men's lacrosse team comprised of former NCAA All-Americans like Kyle Harrison, Chazz Woodson, Jovan Miller, Sam Bradman and John Christmas has evolved into a foundation that works in partnership with US Lacrosse to offer free youth clinics in underrepresented communities around the country.

Chuck Sherwood

In 1972, Sherwood became the first Black lacrosse player in ACC and Duke history. In 1975, he made a then-NCAA single-game saves record of 37 against Drexel.

Brian Silcott

Silcott was a two-time All-American and national midfielder of the year for Nazareth before 11 seasons as a pro in the MLL and NLL. He became the MLL’s first Black head coach alongside Bill Daye in 2006. He also served as the National Men’s Game Director for US Lacrosse and is currently the Director of Operations for Jamaica Lacrosse and Head of Player Experience for the Premier Lacrosse League. He is on the US Lacrosse Board of Directors.

Tina Sloan Green

Perhaps the most influential Black woman — and one of the most influential women, period — in lacrosse’s history. She coached Temple from 1975-92, leading the Owls to 11 final fours and three national championships. She was also the first Black woman to play for the U.S. women’s national field hockey team and the first Black woman to play on the U.S. national lacrosse team. Sloan Green was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1997.

Gina Thomas

The two-time FIL World Cup gold medalist defender (2009, 2013) has coached Cincinnati since 2013. In 2005, Thomas set Ohio State career records in ground balls and caused turnovers.

Taylor Thornton

The former Northwestern midfielder was four-time IWLCA All-American and 2012 Tewaaraton Award finalist. Thornton was recognized as the 2012 Lacrosse Honda Sports Award winner.