Editor’s note: The following article about the Powells was written by Chris Fitz Gerald and published in the Watertown Daily Times on Sunday, September 17.
The legacy of the Powell family in lacrosse literally began when they were youngsters playing around a net set up in their backyard in West Carthage.
Since then, the sport has taken the three brothers — Casey, Ryan and Mike — to glory and success at different levels, from their high school days, to stardom at Syracuse University, and into the pro and international ranks and beyond.
They have accomplished so much that the Powells can be aptly called the first family of lacrosse — not only with their roots in the north country — but throughout the nation and the world as well, as they’ve elevated the game to an even higher status.
Casey Powell, the oldest sibling, will be fittingly honored when he’s inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame this Saturday in Hunt Valley, Md.
When I first heard about my induction into the Hall of Fame, I instantly thought back to my early days. And how I started, and the town I grew up in as a kid, and the first team I played with under coach Ventiquattro.
– Casey Powell
What makes his journey special is there is no other sport in the world where a north country athlete has been named as the top player and pioneer in their sport.
The brothers — Casey and Ryan in particular — have also been responsible for the continued growth of the sport, not just in the region — but throughout the country and on the international stage as well.
They had a big impact, these pioneers. And that carried over to other kids who said ‘hey, we can do this, too. We’re from here and we can compete at this level as well.’
– Carthage boys lacrosse coach Kirk Ventiquattro, who founded the high school program in the late 1980s
Casey, who is 41 and resides in Florida, strives to give back to the sport, and with all of his experience, has become an ambassador of the sport.
After his stellar career at SU, he played pro lacrosse until he retired last year at the age of 40.
The Powells and their Carthage teammates once ventured to the Carrier Dome to watch Syracuse University lacrosse as kids, then the Powell trio went on to star for the Orange, leaving their mark on of the top college programs in the country.
I think about growing up where I did and how lucky I was to grow up in a special place. It was just a village, but it was a great place to grow up and that’s what it did for me.
– Casey Powell
The eldest Powell, who wore what’s become the iconic uniform number No. 22 all the way since his time at SU, serves as a representative for the Jacksonville University lacrosse program after serving as an assistant coach there and continues to give back to the sport.
He has transcended the playing field as he has helped establish a non-for-profit organization — the Casey Powell World Lacrosse Organization.
Casey is an ambassador of the game, everyone who meets Casey — he’s just a dynamic personality — they all are. All three of those brothers, I travel the country with them, it’s like how do you remember these all kids? And they do — they never forget a name or they never forget a coach. They are just ambassadors, like Ryan helping bring the sport to places like Missoula in Montana.
– Coach Ventiquattro
Ryan, who now lives in Manlius after he resided for nearly a decade in Oregon, has promoted the game throughout the country, led by his efforts out west after creating Rhino Lacrosse.
The Powells were ultra-competitive and they still are.
– Former Carthage teammate Jason Coffman
Casey is my pick as being the greatest player we’ve had in the sport.
– Ryan Powell
Casey and Ryan have made a livelihood out of lacrosse, establishing a business together, as well as other ventures.
Definitely, lacrosse has been very good to us over the years, that’s for sure. A lot of amazing opportunities and experiences and we both kind of consider lacrosse our full-time job. I had great coaches, great role models, great teachers and great parents — and the best backyard training partners in the country.
– Ryan Powell