Mike Thearle, a standout defenseman in the early 1970's and a member of the University of Maryland's national championship team in 1973, passed away on Thursday, May 6.
Regarded as one of the sport's greatest defensemen, Thearle was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2004.
Originally from the Sunnyside neighborhood in Queens, New York, Thearle started his college career at SUNY-Farmingdale, earning first team All-America honors twice. He then moved on to the University of Maryland, earning second team All-America status in 1972 and first team honors in 1973.
In recognition of his outstanding play, Thearle was also the recipient of the 1973 Schmeisser Award as the nation's most outstanding collegiate defenseman. That same year, he helped lead Maryland to the NCAA championship, with the Terps defeating Johns Hopkins, 10-9 in overtime, in the championship game played in Philadelphia.
After college, Thearle played club lacrosse for 10 years and was a six-time all-star selection. He also played for the U.S. Team that won the 1974 world championship in Australia. Thearle was named to the ACC’s 50th Anniversary Team in 2002.
“Mike was a strong and fierce lockdown defender who was greatly appreciated by his teammates on all the teams he played on, from Maryland to the Long Island Lacrosse Club and the 1974 U.S. Team,” said fellow Hall of Fame member Skip Lichtfuss. “He was a bigger than life personality, both on and off the field.”
Committed to giving back to the game he loved, Thearle served as a longtime board member for the Long Island Metro Lacrosse Foundation (LIMLF). He was also the owner and operator of his own business, South Bay Trucking.
In addition to his membership in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Thearle had also been inducted into the US Lacrosse Long Island Metro Chapter, University of Maryland Athletics, and SUNY-Farmingdale halls of fame.
Thearle is survived by his wife, Dorothy; five adult children and their spouses; and 12 grandchildren.