Hall of Famer and Lax World Co-Founder Jim Darcangelo Dies

updated Saturday, April 4 at 8:14 a.m. EDT

Jim Darcangelo, a National Lacrosse Hall of Fame midfielder and co-founder of the sport’s first national retail store, died Saturday at his residence in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

According to sources close with the family, Darcangelo, a 1975 Towson graduate who was a three-time All-American and three-time U.S. team member, was recently in a bicycle accident, suffering broken ribs and bleeding in his lungs.

The family initially indicated that Darcangelo died of cardiac arrest, but a medical examiner later determined the cause of death to be complications related to the accident. He died at home at 3:30 a.m.

“There are no words to describe the pain. He was taken from us suddenly and far before any of us were ready,” Darcangelo’s daughter, former Florida midfielder Samantha Darcangelo, wrote in a post on Facebook. “He had the biggest heart of anyone I knew, always willing to go the extra mile for anyone he cared about.”

Darcangelo starred for Towson’s lone NCAA championship team in 1974, when the Tigers defeated Hobart to claim the first-ever Division II national title. He was the USILA Division II/III Player of the Year that year and then again in 1975. “Darky” went on to play for the Maryland Lacrosse Club and for U.S.  teams in 1978, 1982 and 1986. He was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1990, his first year of eligibility.

In addition to his playing exploits, Darcangelo left an indelible mark on the lacrosse community as the co-founder of Lax World, which he started with the late Lance Holden in 1988. What started as a single shop in Towson, Md., grew into a national chain of 16 stores, including locations in Colorado, Georgia, New York, Virginia and Washington.

A pillar of the lacrosse industry, Lax World ceased operations in 2017, four years after Darcangelo sold the business and retired.

“I’m saddened beyond words,” said US Lacrosse CEO Steve Stenersen, who became friends with Darcangelo while traveling to events around the country together in the 1980s and 1990s. “He was as humble, selfless and thoughtful as they come, and his accomplishments on and off the field represent a body of work second to none in our sport.”

Several others among Darcangelo’s contemporaries took to social media to express their condolences and remember a legend.

“The consummate two-way middie was even a better person,” tweeted Skip Lichtfuss, director of national teams and high performance at US Lacrosse and himself a National Hall of Fame player. “A retail pioneer with LaxWorld, he stands as one of the true giants in our game.”

“A tremendous ambassador of the game and a better person,” tweeted Phil Buttafuoco, the executive director of special events for Gillette Stadium and the New England Patriots and the former executive director of the IMLCA. “Always willing to help the lacrosse community. Sad day.”

“We lost a great one today,” tweeted Mark Millon, the 2009 National Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee and two-time All-World attackman for Team USA. “More than anything, he was a great man with a huge heart.”

Darcangelo is survived by his wife, Marilyn, their two children, Jaret and Samantha, their daughter-in-law, Tracie, and a granddaughter, Isabella. His brother, Mark, was a three-time All-American at Hobart and is in the Hall of Fame there.

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