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Mar 23, 2010 11:57 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Huff inducted into LIMLF Hall of Fame

Mar 23, 2010 11:57 AM

Eastport South Manor head varsity lacrosse coach Kevin Huff was more than surprised when he got nominated to be inducted into the Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Foundation Hall of Fame, a regional chapter of U.S. Lacrosse, the national governing body of the sport. But some say it was long overdue.

Huff has spent more than 30 years playing and coaching the sport of lacrosse. Before taking the head coaching job at ESM in 2007, he coached for 23 years at Smithtown High School, 13 of which were spent as the head coach. During his tenure as head coach, he accumulated a 171-70 record, 13 Suffolk County playoff appearances, 12 league championships and one Suffolk County Championship. He has also coached at Syosset High School, Hofstra University and Suffolk County Community College.

“It’s nice to be recognized for your accomplishments,” Huff said. “I’m happy and proud. It’s a great honor and I’m humbled by it. There are some really big names that make it to the Long Island Hall of Fame. Long Island is a hotbed of lacrosse, so there are a few good people in that.”

Tom Postel is a part of the LIMLF committee as well as the National Hall of Fame committee and was a big factor in Huff being nominated. Postel said more than 200 players have been enshrined into the Long Island Hall of Fame since 1986, when it first opened. He also said it takes about 15 years or more to be recognized by the committee, but he did mention that he personally thought Huff was overlooked the past couple of years.

“To get recognized for lacrosse on Long Island is very, very big,” he said. “This past year we had a very strong class, so I was very happy that Kevin voted that high. It was well deserved.”

Huff, a 55-year-old Eastport resident, first started to play lacrosse in the Smithtown School District where he was captain of the varsity team his senior year. He helped Smithtown to its first-ever playoff appearance and earned All-League and All-County Honorable Mention honors. Huff then moved on to Hofstra, where he made three NCAA Division I appearances. He was Most Valuable Team Member twice, a two-time NCAA Division I All-American and represented the Pride in the prestigious North/South Senior All-Star Game.

Huff also played football at Hofstra, where he was team captain and the first running back in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. He also, at the time, held the single game rushing record of 217 yards. Huff was selected first team All-Metro Conference, Metro Conference Offensive Player of the Year and was also selected All-ECAC Division III. For his success and efforts in both football and lacrosse, Huff received the Flying Dutchmen Salute Award, which was awarded for achievements and leadership as Hofstra’s most outstanding athlete.

Huff’s love for lacrosse, however, eventually beat out football. He continued to play for the Long Island Lacrosse Club and the New York Saints of the National Lacrosse League after college and still played competitively until five years ago, when he tore his rotator cuff in one of his shoulders and also tore bicep tendons. A while back, Huff was listening to WFAN, 660AM on the radio in his car and the topic of rotator cuff surgery came up. Many of the callers said they were never the same after the surgery so, after thinking about it, Huff decided against having surgery to fix his shoulder and biceps.

“[Lacrosse] is obviously a big part of my life,” he said, “but I could still swing a golf club so I figured I’d stick with that.”

One change he was ready to make was his location.

The head coaching job available at ESM in 2007 was just icing on the cake for Huff to make the move to Eastport. The main reason for moving was family. He already had his sons, K.J. and Michael, attending ESM, his sister lives right across the street from him now and his brother lives a block away. The lacrosse program at ESM was still fairly new when Huff came on board but he said he was brought in to add to what the previous coaches—Jim Caliendo, Rich Parez and Walt Flaherty—had already set up years before he arrived.

“You need years of development in the program, need to have good people around you, meaning staff,” he said. “Now a days, every sport is all about the off-season. Whether it’s winter leagues or whatever, it’s a pretty big, year-round commitment now.”

Huff has a 17-17 overall record at ESM through his first two seasons and this year’s team was recently pre-ranked sixth in Suffolk County’s Division II. Another accomplishment, which has gotten great reviews from the community, is Team ESM, a local travel team Huff created that competes in tournaments during the off-season throughout Long Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maryland. Last summer, Huff
added junior varsity and seventh and eighth grade teams to Team ESM and has plans to add fifth and sixth grade and third and fourth grade teams this season.

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