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Lacrosse great Shannon Smith goes into Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame

Hofstra Head Coach Shannon Smith during the second

Hofstra Head Coach Shannon Smith during the second half of The College of William and Mary Tribe at the Hofstra Pride on Friday April 21, 2017. Credit: Lee S Weissmamn

Shannon Smith accomplished everything imaginable during her lacrosse career.

The 2008 graduate of West Babylon is the state’s all-time leading scorer in girls lacrosse with 729 points and 505 goals, according to NYSPHSAA. She won three NCAA titles in four appearances during a storied career at Northwestern.

She also won the 2011 Tewaaraton Award, given to the nation’s top male and female lacrosse player each year.

Still, the 28-year-old coach of the Hofstra women’s lacrosse team is humbled that she was one of 10 inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday night in a ceremony at Watermill Caterers in Smithtown.

“If someone told me that I would’ve had this much experience and this much success in the game of lacrosse when I first started playing, I definitely would’ve laughed,” Smith said.

Smith was supported at the event by past teammates from both West Babylon and Northwestern, Hofstra athletics staff members, family friends and her family, including her grandparents.

Recently, she took an unintentional trip down memory lane.

“This past winter, in December, I was cleaning out my house, and I came across all articles and pictures of when I was in high school and college,” she said. “It brought back so many memories and made me appreciate all the success that I did have.”

Of her various accomplishments, there are two that hold more weight than others.

“The thing that really sticks out most to me was being able to win the national championship both my junior and senior years back here at home, at Stony Brook . . . It was an incredible experience,” she said.

Also inducted was Hans Wiederkehr, the president of the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association and former head coach at Babylon. While at Babylon, he amassed a 99-41-2 record and won nine league titles in 12 years. He won five county titles and two Long Island championships.

Supported by his family, Wiederkehr said he was taken aback by the honor.

“It was the highlight of my career, to tell you the truth,” he said.

Despite the impressive coaching resume and the work he currently does with Suffolk coaches and the Blue Chip Prospects high school football combine, Wiederkehr said he couldn’t pinpoint a specific moment of his career. Instead, he said he put immense value in the little things.

“The highlight of my coaching was practice every day, and the games,” he said. “There’s no particular year or game. It happens to be that particular day with that particular team with that particular group of kids. I loved going in, I loved going to practice. I loved watching the kids learn.”

Former NFL defensive end Stephen Bowen, who spent his final year in the league with the Jets, was inducted after a 10-year career at the game’s highest level. He now works in operations for the NFL.

Bowen spent five years with the Cowboys and four years with the Redskins before retiring in 2015. He started 16 games with Washington in 2011, recording six sacks and 21 solo tackles.

The other inductees were Robert F. Burkley, a track and field coach in the Middle Country School District from 1964-1998; Joe Dooley, a 39-year football official rated No. 1 for 12 straight years; Cheryl Klein-Obelar, a record-setting shot/discus thrower at Bellport; Edward J. Morris, the former executive director of the Hall of Fame from 2000-2017; Matt Ryan, a decorated Olympic handball player from Miller Place; Harry Schneider, a track and field coach in the Middle Country School District for 32 years; and Clem Stancik, the Brentwood tennis coach who is the winningest coach in state history.

New York Sports