A legacy of lacrosse players for Lutherville coach [Lutherville-Timonium]

If you've had a child play in the boys LuthervilleTimonium lacrosse program, you can't help but be impressed by the number of players trying out, quality of coaching and overall success of the program.

My son played one year for LTRC lacrosse and I'll never forget the weeks of tryouts at Seminary Field. The intensity and length of the evaluation process were intimidating, but well worth it in the end. The year my son played, he was coached by a father and his college-age son, who had also been a player in the LTRC program.

I thought it was a such a novel idea to have an experienced father/son team as coaches, but as it turns out, this is not just common but typical for the Lutherville program.

I recently had the opportunity to speak to one of the patriarchs of the program, Spook Hilgartner. I never even bothered to ask his real name, because everyone calls him "Spook," without hesitation or explanation. 

Spook and his wife, Anne, raised their three sons on Pot Spring Road. He began playing lacrosse at 10 in Mount Washington at a time when very few junior leagues existed. Spook continued to play lacrosse at Calvert Hall High School and Villanova University. He eventually landed a spot in the Hall of Fame for the Greater Baltimore Chapter of U.S. Lacrosse.  

Spook's talent and passion for lacrosse was passed through the generations as his three sons, Rife, Andy and Peter, all learned to play at a young age through the LTRC lacrosse program, and went on to play at the college level. Rife, the eldest, played at Essex Community College. Andy played at Michigan State and is currently the varsity coach for McDonogh School. Peter played for the University of Maryland and was an assistant coach at the University of Denver. 

Currently, three of Spook's eight grandchildren also play in the LTRC program, while several other grandkids play for the Severna Park Green Hornets.

More than 35 years ago, Spook was a pioneer for the Lutherville lacrosse program, which he said "started out small with approximately 300 players and their own fathers as coaches. They raised money for kids to buy helmets, and it was a home grown program."

Today, the program has grown exponentially and is no longer run by fathers of the current players, which keeps things objective and fair. Instead, many of the coaches are former players and their grown sons who have graduated from the LTRC program. The dedication and experience of coaches, like Spook Hilgartner are a testament to the program's success and popularity today.

They say you can be quite successful if you do what you love, and I recently met a Lutherville resident doing just that. Greg Kenneally, the owner of East Coast Dyes, located at 8745 Mylander Lane in Towson, started his extremely successful business in his basement during the summer of 2011 after graduating from Elizabethtown College. What began as an experiment during a boring summer home from school became a full time business.

Greg, a college lacrosse player and coach for Crabs Club Team, was experimenting with different coatings of lacrosse mesh to see if he could make it waterproof. He came up with a formula to wax coat mesh that is so successful, he sells his product in 237 retail locations, including his own store and website.

East Coast Dyes was the first U.S. company to develop a premium lacrosse mesh product in an industry that used to only offer abrasive, hard mesh made of acrylic. The mesh created by East Coast Dyes is appealing to lacrosse players for three reasons: it doesn't need to be broken in, it's waterproof, and it comes in a variety of tie dye colors.

Greg and his twin brother, Mike, who joined the business six months after its inception, are both studying for the CPA exam while running the business, and also both hold Master of Business degrees from Towson. Currently, Greg's staff includes 17 employees, with the majority focusing on production. If you check them out on Instagram, you'll join over 61,000 followers.   

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