Dr. Steve Cochi inducted into Lacrosse Hall of Fame

14 Nov

Dr. Steve Cochi, Webster lacrosse star of the 1960s and Centers of Disease Control infectious disease star during his long professional career, spent a busy November 5 weekend reuniting with former teammates and being honored by the local chapter of USA Lacrosse.

Dr. Cochi led the 1969 Webster Ridgemen to the championship of the Upstate Lacrosse Conference, scoring six of his team’s seven goals, including the sudden-victory fourth overtime winner against Fayetteville-Manlius of the Syracuse area. He subsequently became Webster’s first college All-American honoree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, matching his high school feat of setting his team’s then all-time scoring record.

A large contingent of Webster lacrosse folks attended the awards banquet of the Greater Rochester Area Chapter of USA Lacrosse, the governing body of the sport, including a table of his fellow ’69 Ridgemen. His family filled another table, and a third included five of Webster’s previous eight local Hall of Fame selectees.

Dr. Cochi recounted the impact of his Webster team experience, including the leadership of Coach Bill Guerrera, who had sadly passed away just that previous week.

According to his biograohy from the National Library of Medicine, Steve’s post-Webster career with the CDC encompassed “more than 22 years working in the field of immunization. As Acting Director of the National Immunization Program at CDC he had a major impact on the prevention of virtually every one of the vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) disease, measles, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, varicella, and tetanus.”

The weekend included a Friday evening pizza-and-soda gathering at Thomas High School, arranged by present THS coach Rob Ruller and included additional former teammates Bill Southwell and Mike Martin as well as other members of the Webster lacrosse community. Fond memories of Coach Guerrera and recollections of events of the title game and the rest of the season were stimulated by a grainy and jumpy tape partially salvaged from the original film. That relic of ‘wooden-stick lacrosse’ can be accessed via YouTube here.

Steve Cochi wore #88.

Thank you to Dave Moore for submitting this follow-up.

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(posted 11/14/2022)

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