George Chandlee, lacrosse coach


George M. Chandlee Jr., retired Gilman School lacrosse coach, died June 5 of pneumonia at Union Memorial Hospital. He was 80.

Mr. Chandlee was one of the most successful high school lacrosse coaches in the history of the Maryland Scholastic Association. He retired in 1970 after coaching his last MSA championship team. His teams also won titles in 1947, his first year at the helm, 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1956.

In his 23-year career, he compiled a record of 172-42-3 and coached 600 Gilman players, 38 of whom later became collegiate All-Americans.

"Coaching has certainly been a rewarding experience for me and an important part of my life," he told The Sun in a 1970 interview.

Retired Gilman School headmaster Redmond C. S. Finney, who was a member of the 1947 team, said, "He was an outstanding coach who certainly cared deeply for the school. He's synonymous with Gilman, and I always valued his friendship."

The passing of Mr. Chandlee was noted at the annual Lacrosse Classic Boys North/South Game held each June at Homewood Field on the campus of the Johns Hopkins University.

"The game of lacrosse lost one of its most revered contributors," Steve Stenersen, executive director of the Lacrosse Foundation in Baltimore, told spectators.

He asked them to stand for a moment of silence in tribute to Mr. Chandlee.

Mr. Stenersen then noted Mr. Chandlee's impact on the sport and expressed hope "that we may be fortunate enough to benefit from the impact of many more men and women so committed to the game of lacrosse and to the lives of young people."

"He was a tremendously outgoing and warm individual," Mr. Stenersen recalled yesterday. "He never wanted to miss a Hopkins home game, and, despite respiratory problems which required him to take along an oxygen tank, he was there. He loved the game that much."

Mr. Chandlee was born in Baltimore and grew up on Wickford Road in Roland Park. He attended Calvert School and was a 1932 graduate of Gilman and captain of its first lacrosse team that year.

He continued his education at Yale University, where he played lacrosse. After his graduation in 1936, he returned to Gilman, where he taught math and later was chairman of the mathematics department.

He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II, attaining the rank of staff sergeant. He returned to Gilman in 1947 as lacrosse coach.

For 24 years, Mr. Chandlee, who earned a master's degree from Louisiana State University in 1961, was a counselor and later head counselor at Hyde Bay Camp for Boys in Cooperstown, N.Y. He was known to campers as "Chief."

He was vice president and later president of the U.S. Lacrosse Coaches Association and was a member of the executive board of the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association. In 1977, he was inducted into the Lacrosse Hall of Fame in Baltimore. The lacrosse field at Gilman is named for him.

After he retired from Gilman, he moved to Franklin, W.Va., with his wife, the former Mary Christman, whom he married in 1954. After her death in 1992, he returned to Baltimore.

A memorial service was to be held at 2 p.m. today at Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church, where he had been a member and deacon for many years.

He is survived by five cousins, Theodore M. Chandlee Jr. of Baltimore, Dr. Alexander Chandlee Hering of Lake Bluff, Ill., Catharine B. Wilhelm of Baltimore, Nancy Rieman Austin of Easton and Mary Chandlee Blanton of Richmond.

Memorial donations may be made to Brown Memorial, 6200 N. Charles St., Baltimore; or to the Lacrosse Hall of Fame Foundation, 113 W. University Parkway, Baltimore 21210.

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