Kyle Harrison assumed he had played his final lacrosse game at Homewood Field when Johns Hopkins defeated Massachusetts in the 2005 NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, but that was proven wrong in 2019, when he played at Homewood as part of the Premier Lacrosse League.
Harrison will get another chance to play at Homewood when the PLL comes through Baltimore this weekend. Harrison’s Redwoods LC will play the Chaos LC at 5:15 p.m. June 26, one of five games that’ll be played at Homewood this weekend. Two will be televised on NBC Sports Network. Harrison’s game will be available on Peacock.
Given that the 38-year-old Harrison has already decided the 2021 PLL season will be his last as a professional lacrosse player, June 26 will mark his last competitive game at Homewood Field.
“When I walked off that field [in 2005], that was the last time I ever thought I’d have the opportunity to play on it,” Harrison said on Glenn Clark Radio June 21. “Two years ago back in 2019 … the best memory without a doubt that made it all worth it was running around with my two kids on Homewood Field, which I never thought I would get to do professionally. [My wife Meredith and I] have incredible pictures of that. That field means the world to my family and me. Having the opportunity to go back is pretty special.”
Harrison, a Baltimore native, graduated from Friends School in 2001 and played at Hopkins from 2002-2005 under Dave Pietramala. Hopkins went to the Final Four in all four years of Harrison’s career and won the national championship in 2005.
Harrison, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound midfielder, posted 81 goals and 45 assists while winning 61 percent of his draws during his four-year career for the Blue Jays. He was a three-time All-American and remains the only Johns Hopkins player ever to win the Tewaaraton Award (2005).
The 2021 campaign marks Harrison’s 17th season of playing pro lacrosse. He had two stints in Major League Lacrosse and one on the LXM Pro Tour, but most recently, he has played for the Redwoods in the PLL. The league was co-founded by Paul Rabil, Harrison’s Hopkins teammate in 2005.
Harrison said the 2020 season might have been his last pro season if not for the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the PLL to play a two-week tournament in a bubble in Utah last summer. Harrison didn’t want to end his career that way.
“My body felt good. I felt like I’d like to play one last real season, and of course it ended up being this one,” Harrison said. “… I’ve been so lucky — 17 years is a long time to play professional lacrosse. I’m fortunate to have the run I’ve had.”
As Harrison moves into the next phase of his life, his college coach will do the same. Pietramala coached at Hopkins from 2001-2020 after starring for the Blue Jays as a defenseman in the late ’80s. He racked up a record of 207-93 as the head coach at Hopkins, earning 18 trips to the NCAA Tournament and seven to the Final Four. He won it all twice.
Pietramala and the school mutually agreed to part ways after the pandemic-shortened season of 2020. He took a year off after leaving Hopkins but recently became the defensive coordinator at Syracuse under head coach Gary Gait. Was Harrison surprised Pietramala didn’t land a head coaching job?
“Maybe there were some positions that he was offered that he turned down. I don’t think it’ll be years and years down the road before he’s a head coach again,” Harrison said. “… He’s an all-time great and he will do an incredible job up there at Syracuse. Looking forward to watching what happens. Like I said, I don’t anticipate it being too long before he will be offered another head coaching position.”
What will be odd for Harrison is seeing his former coach with the Orange. When Harrison was at Hopkins, the Blue Jays battled for national supremacy with Syracuse, Princeton, Virginia and Duke. Syracuse beat Hopkins on the way to the national title in 2004.
“I don’t like orange. I genuinely don’t. I lost to three teams in college. I lost to Princeton, I lost to ‘Cuse and I lost to Virginia. That’s it,” Harrison said. “We didn’t lose to anybody else in our four years there, so I’m just not an orange guy by nature. But what he and I agreed to last week — obviously I’m a hoops fan — so I told him I would wear a Syracuse basketball crewneck, and that would be my way of supporting him.”
For more from Harrison, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credits: Courtesy of the PLL