Richie Moran's autobiography was entitled “It's Great To Be Here,” and the way he embraced every day of his 85 years and 3 months proved just how much he loved life. Now that Richie has passed from this world to the next, those who loved him are saying, “It Was Great To Have You Here.”
Richard M. “Richie” Moran was born on a snowy January 18th in New Hyde Park in 1937, the last of eight children. His parents had come to the U.S. From Ireland – Catherine from the County of Claire in 1915 and John from the County of Sligo in 1916 – and their other seven children were Mary (Jim Costello) Capt. John Moran (Mary O'Brien), Edward Moran (Doris), A. Robert Moran(Gloria), William Moran (Muriel) Al Moran and Dorothy (Bill Doucet).
An elite two-sport athlete in high school, Richie led Sewanaka High's lacrosse team (under coach Bill Ritch) to 58 consecutive wins, then went on to lead the University of Maryland to a national lacrosse championship in 1959, while serving as the President of his fraternity, Phi Kappa Sigma. It was at the U. of M. that Richie would meet Patricia Smith, with whom he would walk down the aisle on February 11, 1961 at Sacred Heart in Washington, D.C., and with whom he would spend the next 61 years.
After proudly serving in the United States Marine Corps, Richie would return to Long Island, where he would be a Physical Education teacher, an Athletic Director and a football, basketball and lacrosse coach who would lead his teams at Elmont and Manhasset to numerous league and Long Island championships.
The word soon got out that this brash, innovative and passionate young coach would make a fine collegiate mentor, and Cornell University wooed Richie – via Pat – to come to Ithaca, New York, to take over the Big Red lacrosse program. Over the course of the next 29 years, Cornell would put up 257 wins, have three undefeated seasons and win fifteen Ivy League titles and three National Championships. The team's 42-game win streak from 1976-78 remains an NCAA record, and their 39-game Ivy win streak remains a conference record. Richie was the USILA Coach of the Year three times, and the USILA Man of the Year in 1975. He coached 117 All-Americans and 202 All-Ivy players, and was the recipient of the Spirit of Tewaarton Award in 2012. A member of nine Halls of Fame, Richie is one of only two coaches to win National Championships as a player and as a coach, and was the founder and leader of the Irish Lacrosse Foundation. He was named Head Coach Emeritus at Cornell in 2015, the only non-Professor to be honored with Emeritus status.
Richie was the Chairman of the North/South College All-Star Game for 15 years, and he coached at the International level (Team USA/World Games), traveling the globe, taking teams to Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Australia, Scotland, Wales, Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Italy and Austria, and often expressed his gratitude that Pat was able to accompany him on many of those trips.
Richie recently said, “I really love Cornell, and Ithaca and all the amazing people in this community,” and his dedication to his community leaves a beautiful legacy. He was as generous with his time as he was with his money, and he served on many non-profit boards, including the Franziska Racker Center, the Learning Web, Gadabout, the Cayuga Medical Foundation, the Ithaca Y.M.C.A., the Elks Club (Elk of the Year), the Commodore during the Ithaca Yacht Club's 100th year, the 16-year Chairman (or co-Chairman) of the Community Coaches vs. Cancer, the President of the Cornell Coaches Club and many others. In addition to these examples of community service, Richie put forth countless behind-the-scenes acts of kindness and generosity, impacting people from all socioeconomic circumstances and all abilities.
Richie is survived by his wife of 61 years, Patricia Moran, and by his three children, Kevin (Melissa), Jennifer (Lou Sposito) and Kathy (Bill Rogers). Richie deeply loved his eight grandchildren – Kylie, Ryan and Chase Sposito, Lindsay and Adrienne Rogers, and Eamon, Quinlan and Finn Moran. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews and extended family.
Richie asked that these words be shared in his obituary: “I leave you all for a brief time, and I appreciate all the kindness and compassion you showed me over the years. God bless you all.”
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 am on Saturday, June 4, 2022 at St. Catherine of Siena Church, 309 Siena Dr., Ithaca, NY. Friends are invited to greet the family on Friday, June 3rd from 3-6 pm at the church. A Memorial service is being planned for a later date and will be announced in the future. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in Richie’s memory to the United Way of Tompkins County, 313 N. Aurora St., Ithaca, NY 14850. Online condolences at www.bangsfuneralhome.com
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