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WELL HEELED FORMER UNC GREAT AND REVERED OHIO HIGH SCHOOL COACH GRAHAM HARDEN


LIKELY WON’T BEAT ALS. THAT DOESN’T MEAN HE CAN’T TRY. BY SEAN BURNS


s friends and family began to fi ll the room on a November Saturday night at the Four Seasons in Stratford, Conn., Graham Harden wanted to be clear about one thing: The honor he was about to receive was bestowed well before he got the news that changed his life three months earlier. “No pity vote here,” Harden said.


They came to see Harden get inducted into the Connecticut Lacrosse Hall of


Fame. He was the captain of North Carolina’s undefeated 1991 NCAA championship team, the ACC Player of the Year, a fi rst-team All-American and the William Schmeisser Award winner as the best defenseman in the nation that spring.


That Harden was diagnosed with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, between his selection and his induction does not diminish for a second the greatness which earned him his spot on the dais. It just made the affair a little more poignant for friends and family who traveled from far and wide to celebrate with him. When you fi rst see Harden, the thought that crosses your mind probably isn’t, “I’ll bet he was dominant as a defenseman on the lacrosse fi eld.” He’s an unassuming guy, standing a hair under 6 feet, and probably tipping the scales at 180. But opponents quickly learned the folly in underestimating him.


USlaxmagazine.com April 2017 US LACROSSE MAGAZINE 39


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