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Men's Lacrosse Legend: Terence Gilmore

+15 HS
beserkr29's picture
August 31, 2020 at 2:22pm

I had a request for historical reviews of Ohio State lacrosse venues, but that's a bit tough as the team hasn't really had dedicated facilities until recently. Instead, I decided I would start a lacrosse legends series. I wasn't sure where to start, but I figured the most accomplished offensive player in Ohio State history wouldn't be a bad jumping off point.

Terence (known as Terry most places I found) Gilmore would likely be the lacrosse version of Chic Harley at Ohio State had the lacrosse team managed to win a title. His significance to the program can't be overstated. Even Terry Gilmore's high school career was amazing.

Terry was born on August 17th, 1957, in Columbus, Ohio. Raised in the shadow of Ohio Stadium in Upper Arlington, Gilmore didn't even pick up a stick until he was in middle school. As an aside, that was a very common occurrence prior to the late 1990s. Plenty of All-American players in the 1970s and 1980s didn't even learn about the game until they were almost in high school. Or later.

The game was so different from an equipment perspective that it was much easier to pick up and excel later in your adolescence. Now, it's virtually unheard of for kids to pick up a stick in late middle or early high school and go on to play college ball. Let's get back to Terry Gilmore.

Gilmore was one of the first members of the Upper Arlington program back in the 1970s. As a member of the class of 1975, Gilmore took part in the first four years of the Upper Arlington program. From 1972 to 1975, Gilmore played attack for the Golden Bears, ending his time there as the programs leading scorer, and a co-captain for the team.

His senior year, Terry Gilmore helped the Golden Bears top the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Association, an interstate lacrosse conference that was created with schools in Michigan, western Pennsylvania, and Ohio. After an extremely successful high school career, Gilmore headed to Ohio State. And wow, did he make an impact.

In 1976, Terry Gilmore came into a program coming off a dreary 7-7 1975 spring season. Competing in the Midwest Lacrosse Association, Ohio State lost to such stalwarts as Ohio Wesleyan (by 11 goals), TTUN, Sparty, and Bowling Green. Sidenote: Bowling Green was actually offering lacrosse scholarships as far back as the 1960s, and had a tremendous program.

That surprised me no end, and is really sad to see. I think a MAC conference would be awesome. After the mediocre 1975 season, Terry Gilmore's arrival, as well as the appointment of a new coach in Jerry Bell, for the 1976 campaign signaled a reversal of fortunes for the still burgeoning Ohio State program.

In 1976, Gilmore made an immediate impact as a midfielder, playing out of position from his high school days as an attackman. He led all Buckeyes with 17 goals during the season, tacking on 8 assists to bring his point total to 25. Ohio State went from a .500 outfit to 9-3, with marquee wins over a Denison team that had beaten Ohio State by 13 goals the year before, a 13-goal trouncing of Sparty, and a 3-goal victory over the team up north to kick off the season.

Conference losses to Ohio Wesleyan, Kenyon, and Bowling Green relegated Ohio State to 5th in the MLA for the season. Still, the Buckeyes showed a ton of improvement from 1975 to 1976. Despite two fewer games, the Buckeyes cut their losses by over half, and showed the first signs of the good things to come.

Prior to the 1977 season, coach Jerry Bell called out Terry Gilmore as his pick for the top scorer on the Ohio State roster. He highlighted the move from middie to attack for Gilmore as a portent of things to come.

Bell had no idea what he had just unleashed, as Terry Gilmore would use 1977 to start a run of offensive success that Ohio State had never seen before, and hasn't seen since. Following the successful 1976 season, however, Ohio State took a bit of a step back as a program.

The team won 7 games and dropped 4, all to conference opponents. Ohio Wesleyan, Kenyon, Ashland, and Denison got the better of Ohio State, keeping the Buckeyes firmly out of contention for the MLA crown. Terry, however, had the second-most prolific season in Ohio State lacrosse history to that point, posting 27 goals and 28 assists that season. His 55 points that year was an outstanding achievement alone.

The team had a disappointing season after the improvement of 1976, but this sophomore slump under coach Jerry Bell sparked the second-greatest season in Ohio State lacrosse history to that point, and for many years to come, in 1978.

After compiling 80 points exactly in two years, Terry Gilmore apparently decided that 1978 would be the year that he would launch himself into the stratosphere. And, with the help of his teammates, Gilmore managed to do something that had only been done once before in the history of Ohio State lacrosse: win a title.

The season started off a bit rocky, as a 5-goal victory in the opener against William & Mary was immediately followed up with a 13-goal drubbing at the hands of Washington & Lee.

Losing 22-9 must have really lit a spark, because the team would never lose another game the rest of the year. In fact, Ohio State would fail to score at least 10 goals only once in their remaining 12 games, an 8-6 win over New England College. Wins would follow over TTUN, Sparty, Notre Dame, and the bane of Ohio State's existence (lacrosse-wise during the MLA days), the in-state duo of Denison and Ohio Wesleyan.

Terry Gilmore, during the Buckeye rampage through the MLA, had the season of his young life to that point. While playing TTUN, Gilmore managed to dish out 5 assists in an easy win for Ohio State to kick off April. It would be far from the last time he would do so. Two weeks later, Terry Gilmore would have 5 assists yet again in a win over Ashland.

In those two games alone, he racked up 10 points just as a feeder. April could not have gone any better for Mr. Gilmore. Then came April 30, 1978. In a game against Sparty, Gilmore put up 3 goals and 7 assists as Ohio State rampaged over Little Green. This was only the 6th time in school history a player had registered double-digit points in a game.

Gilmore found himself in a 3-way tie for the third-highest point output ever. The win over Sparty was Ohio State's 12th of the season. After a casual 4-goal win over Wooster, and a nailbiter overtime win over Bowling Green, Ohio State found itself with only its second 14-win season ever, and second MLA title in program history.

Along the way, Terry Gilmore managed to accumulate 31 goals, and 49 assists to lead the team in points. His 49 assists in a single season are STILL a program record. This in spite of the amazing talents that have suited up for the Scarlet and Gray over the years, especially recently.

Ohio State and Jerry Bell reached a peak in 1978. Winning the MLA at the time was no easy feat, given the competition at the time and Ohio State's lack of any real lacrosse pedigree. In recognition for his efforts, Terry Gilmore was recognized by the USILA as an Honorable Mention for the All-American Team.

It wasn't the first time that a Buckeye player had been honored, but it was a sign of how much of an impact that Gilmore was having. The following season, 1979, would see a big dip for everyone. Everyone, that is, except Terry Gilmore.

Ohio State's 1979 season dawned with the Buckeyes riding high. They had just won their second ever conference title, won 14 games in a season, and Terry Gilmore had a season for the record books.

The year started well, with two big wins over Virginia-based teams. Ohio State rolled over James Madison and now DIII power Lynchburg by a combined 30 goals. This good start did not lead to better things, as the Buckeyes went 6-7 the rest of the year. Ohio State lost big to Ohio Wesleyan twice, and dropped a 1-goal game to Denison to finish 5-3 in the MLA.

Baltimore University, Syracuse University, and Roanoke College all scored double-digit wins over the Buckeyes that year, massacres which highlighted the letdown for this team from their high-water mark in 1978. This despite Terry Gilmore's season for the ages.

Terry Gilmore started 1979 as Ohio State's undisputed offensive leader, and his performance that year only confirmed it. A year after posting 80 points and a program-record 49 assists, Terry Gilmore managed to outdo himself. With 48 goals, and 42 assists, Gilmore recorded the only 90 point season in Ohio State history.

This season was highlighted by a record-tying game against Sparty to end the season on a high note. Terry had 7 assists that day, tying his own record from the year before, which was shared with Cliff Murray, who set the mark in 1967. The single game assist mark stood until 2008, when it was topped by Joel Delgarno in a game against Quinnipiac.

Gilmore also had a 5-assist day against Bowling Green the week before. Interestingly, despite scoring the second-most goals ever in a season to that point, Terry Gilmore does not rank in the top 10 of goals scored in a game for the program.

Regardless, despite a disappointing 8-7 campaign, Terry Gilmore cemented his status as the best offensive player in the history of Ohio State, and really the state of Ohio. Period. The USILA agreed, naming Gilmore once more to their Honorable Mention list for the All-American team.

After the final whistle of his college career, Terence Gilmore walked off the field as the most accomplished and decorated player in Ohio State's history on the offensive side of the ball. His 123 goals rank third all-time in Ohio State lacrosse history. Terry's 127 assists are still a program record, with only one other player at the 100-assist mark. With 250 points, Terry Gilmore holds a program record that has stood for 40 years.

Some players have come very close, and Tre Leclaire is the closest active player, though it will take some doing for him to accomplish it. Through it all, Gilmore remained a humble figure, playing truly for the love of the game.

Following his graduation with a mechanical engineering degree, Terry Gilmore went into the oil industry. He spent 27 years in sales and marketing there, getting married in 1985 to his wife Trish.

Terry Gilmore was inducted into the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993, the first ever inductee from men's lacrosse. He is one of only four total honorees in the OSU Hall of Fame for lacrosse. After retirement, Gilmore got into coaching in Colorado.

He spent several seasons coaching for a Colorado high school, then was named an assistant coach for Colorado College. On February 19, 2018, Terry Gilmore passed away at the age of 60. He lived a full life, and will always be remembered as an Ohio State lacrosse legend.

May he rest in peace.


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