Postel, left, pictured with fellow Hall of Fame coach Richie Moran.
Tom Postel, an outstanding player who was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1986 and later coached his alma mater, C.W. Post, for 20 years, died at his home on Long Island on Tuesday, October 12. He was 77.
Postel began his lacrosse journey at H. Frank Carey High School in New York, where he played on the varsity team from 1959-1962. At C.W. Post College, Postel enjoyed a record-setting lacrosse career while serving as captain of the Pioneers in 1964 and 1965 and being selected as the team’s MVP in both seasons.
As an attackman, Postel led the nation in scoring in 1963. The following year, he became the first Pioneers player to earn All-America recognition, receiving honorable mention honors while finishing second in the nation in scoring. In 1965, Postel switched to the midfield and again led the nation in scoring, earning third team All-America honors.
Postel graduated with school records for career points (269), goals (144), and assists (125), as well as single season points (96 in 1963 and 1965) and goals (60 in 1963).
After college, Postel played one season for the Long Island Lacrosse Club before serving in Vietnam from 1967-69. He then returned home to continue playing for Long Island until 1985. He was the team captain for eight years and chosen club MVP three times. He was selected to the U.S. Club All-Star team 11 times and received the national Club Advocate MVP Award in 1966 and 1970.
“Tom wasn’t a big guy, maybe around 150 pounds when he played, but it was all heart,” said Hall of Famer Vinnie Sombrotto, a teammate for several seasons on the Long Island Lacrosse Club. “He was highly skilled and had a deadly accurate shot. He could pick corners like there was no tomorrow. He loved to play the game.”
Postel played for the U.S. Team in the 1974 and 1978 Lacrosse World Championships and was one of three team captains for the 1978 squad. He was also an assistant coach for the U.S. Team at the 1986 World Championships.
“Tom was very proud of serving his country, and then very proud to represent the USA as both a player and a coach,” Sombrotto said.
Fellow Hall of Fame member Skip Lichtfuss, a teammate of Postel’s on the 1978 U.S. Team, recalled Tom’s unique personality.
“They broke the mold with Tom Postel,” Lichtfuss said. “He was one of the truly iconic characters of our game, both on and off the field. He was a lefty sharpshooter on attack who had a great playing career, and then arguably had his greatest impact as a longtime head coach. Tom’s earthy, honest, and often blunt assessments were his calling cards. He was a beauty!”
After a successful coaching career at Manhasset (N.Y.) High School as well as a junior college national championship at Suffolk County (N.Y.) Community College, Postel returned to C.W. Post in 1986 as the men’s lacrosse head coach and piloted the Pioneers to 140 victories over 20 seasons before retiring in 2006. He led C.W. Post to its first national championship in 1996.
“He had a great understanding of the game and was very generous in sharing his knowledge with others,” Sombrotto said. “He was a players’ coach. He let the guys play.”
In addition to his membership in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Postel was inducted into the Manhasset Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1993, the C.W. Post Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005, and the Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2019.
Details about services for Postel can be accessed here.