The Haddonfield Memorial High School boys lacrosse program will host its third annual 5K Legacy Run for Brian McDonnell Sunday, June 11, a tribute to a team coach who died in 2021.
“This whole thing started a couple years back – a community member, father, friend to everybody, Brian McDonnell passed away, and his son’s senior class started this legacy run as a great way to get the community together,” explained Nolan Tully, a senior lacrosse player.
“They had a run in the morning, but the run wasn’t the biggest deal; the big deal was getting everyone together, and it was a fun time.”
Tully was not coached by McDonnell but is friends with his daughter. He described the coach as a guy who loved life.
“His quote that we all kind of go by is, ‘Live well,’” Tully recalled. “[It] is on the back of our helmets. It’s basically on all of the T-shirts that we print, and it’s something we all want to live by because he was … big on having fun 24/7.
“That’s kind of the way we remember him,” the student added.”We’re trying to figure out ways now to make sure he’s never forgotten.”
The 5K run will memorialize McDonnell’s legacy and raise funds for the creation of a trust for two senior lacrosse players – one boy and one girl – that will award an annual scholarship. Additional funds raised will go to charities the boys lacrosse team finds meaningful.
Since the run began the year of McDonnell’s death, seniors on the team have continued the tradition of organizing and hosting the event, as well as creating their own legacy projects each year. Team head coach Damon Legato said this year’s project also involved distributing gift boxes to senior citizens.
“They have to make the whole thing happen,” Legato noted. “They have to plan it, they have to secure fields, they have to do everything.”
“I think the biggest thing is that it has taught us that not everything is as easy as it looks …” Tully said. “It’s been pretty difficult. We had to work together. We have 12 seniors this year, so we had to assign jobs.”
Along with McDonnell, late JV lacrosse coach Andrew Husenica will also be celebrated. He died in 2022, and a portion of the funds raised at the run will be donated to childhood diabetes research.
The run will begin at 8 a.m. at the high-school track. It will include a 1-mile fun walk and a T-shirt sale. Registration is $20 and includes a T-shirt for the run.
To register or or support the run’s cause visit www.gofundme.com/f/uy9qg-haddonfield-lacrosse-5k-legacy-run-for-charity.