Lehigh Mourns Loss of Donlan
from press release
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men's lacrosse community has recently come together in remembrance of former midfielder Shane Donlan '09, who tragically passed away last week. A number of past and present Mountain Hawk players attended Donlan's services to support his family and remember a truly great teammate, whose impact went far beyond the playing field.
"The Lehigh Lacrosse family is incredibly strong and the support that has been provided to the Donlan family and to one another during this tragic time is truly humbling," said Smith Family Head Lacrosse Coach Kevin Cassese. "Shane is a story of leadership, loyalty, selflessness, enthusiasm, energy, wit and tremendous strength of character."
"We talk a lot about the importance of creating a family-like atmosphere in our athletics teams," said Goodman Dean of Athletics Joe Sterrett. "Shane was a big part of that process during his time in the men's lacrosse program."
A good portion of the current squad attended Tuesday morning's services, while a number of alumni came to show their support as well.
"As sad as his passing was and is for many in the Lehigh community, the strength of the lacrosse family was inspiring and affirming," said Sterrett. "Shane would be pleased to know how his teammates and others from different lacrosse generations demonstrated their love and support for the Donlan family and for each other. Shane will be missed, but he leaves a meaningful legacy."
Donlan's brother Kevin is also a 2007 graduate of the Lehigh Lacrosse program. Shane and Kevin were fortunate enough to play alongside each other for two seasons. When Shane was a freshman and sophomore, Kevin was a junior and senior.
"Shane was a workhorse who gave everything he had every time he was on the field," said current senior co-captain Richard Bradley, who played with Donlan in 2008 and 2009. "He was a vocal leader and had a natural ability to gel all the different personalities on the field into one cohesive unit."
Shane's impact off the field was extensive as well. He was heavily involved in community initiatives, such as Lehigh's C.O.A.C.H. program (Community Outreach by Athletes who Care about Helping).
"I can't think of one instance when he was not smiling," said Bradley. "This was so unique and amazing about Shane. He was always the one to make any situation humorous and fun, but when you really needed someone to talk to about serious issues, Shane was the one listening and wanting to help."
Despite not putting up All-American or even All-League numbers, Donlan's impact went far beyond the playing field. Statistics are just that – numbers. It was his intangibles that helped set the standard for what it means to be a Lehigh student-athlete. He truly made a difference in people's lives.
"Shane was the quintessential leader," said senior co-captain Will Scudder. "He had the ability to light a spark and motivate the team from a pregame speech to when he scored against Lafayette his junior year. He was most importantly, a friend to me and someone I wanted to be around. I was close with everyone in his class, but if I ever needed serious advice or someone to talk to, I went to Shane."
"I often talk to our young men about what it means to be a Lehigh Lacrosse man," said Cassese. "In my eyes and in the eyes of those who had the privilege to work and play alongside him, Shane Donlan will always represent what it means to be a Lehigh Lacrosse man.
"As a senior captain in 2009, Shane was the heart and soul of our team," Cassese continued. "He was the glue that kept us together. He was a leader to his peers. He was a mentor to the underclassmen and an inspiration to us all. Shane will be missed, but his legacy will live on in the Lehigh Lacrosse Family forever."
The team will wear helmet decals with Shane's initials throughout the entirety of the upcoming season.
"There isn't a single bad thing I can say about Shane and I think I speak for anyone who was ever lucky enough to spend time with him," said Bradley. "Shane was able to positively affect so many people's lives; he will surely be missed."