Straight Shooting with Charlie Lockwood
Whether it was under the lights in the Carrier Dome, representing in red, white and blue or making high-risk plays for one of the top high school teams in the country, Charlie Lockwood’s contribution to the sport of lacrosse is undeniable. This year, Lockwood joined the ranks of some of the greatest lacrosse athletes in history to be inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. I sat down with Charlie to talk about his career, the guts it took to wear the number 22, what it meant to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and where he sees the future of lacrosse going.
Nate Cundy: What was it like to be inducted in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2015?
Charlie Lockwood: It was an amazing feeling being honored into such an exclusive group of men and women. I’m very fortunate to have been coached by two members of the Hall of Fame [Coach Mike Messere at West Genesee High School and Coach Roy Simmons Jr. at Syracuse University]. I’ve also played with many teammates at Syracuse and on Team USA that are now in the National HOF. This was the greatest individual achievement that I have received in my lacrosse career.
Charlie was honored during the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame induction ceremony along with other members of the 2015 class, Jake Curran, Dom Fin, Bob Hartranft and Brian Voelker. (Photo Credit: LaxPhotos.com)
NC: You started out playing several sports, what was it about lacrosse that made you want to pursue it at an elite level? And to what do you attribute that success?
CL: I always believed that being a multi-sport athlete would help me excel in lacrosse. Playing basketball, baseball and football greatly assisted me in becoming a better overall player. I was fortunate to play lacrosse at the best program in the country [West Genesee High School] and recognized that I would be able to play at the highest levelthere and at Syracuse University – all because of developing my athletic ability across sports.
As a midfielder for West Genesee High School, Lockwood helped the undefeated Wildcats to a state title during his senior year in 1990.
CL: I guess because I could run up and down the field better than most. I also made high-risk plays during the game. Sometimes they worked, which was great. If they didn’t work, I was doing push-ups and running hills. Discipline was a big part of our high school lacrosse program.
While playing at Syracuse University, Lockwood tallied 142 career points, including 87 goals and 55 assists. He was also a four-time All-American and helped lead the Orange to a National Championship in 1993.
NC: Syracuse is known for having an incredible lacrosse program – what was itlike to play at the Carrier Dome?
CL: Running on that turf in front of 10 - 15,000 passionate fans was the best feeling ever. Some of the greatest games in college lacrosse history have been played in that building and playing at Syracuse University was incredible. We truly brought the “run and gun” attitude to every game!
NC: What does it mean to be a part of the '22' legacy at Syracuse?
CL: So special! Gary Gait had number 22 before I did, and he was the best player the game has ever seen. Coach Simmons dared me to take the number 22 jersey the fall ofmy freshman year. He told me, “if you have any guts, you will pick up that jersey right there” [Pointing to the 22 jersey.] When you wear 22 at ‘Cuse, there is a lot of pressure on you! You have to be a certain type of player and be mentally tough to pick up that jersey.
Lockwood succeeded Gary Gait in wearing the iconic number 22 ‘Cuse uniform after Gait won three National Championships. Gait is currently the head coach of women’s lacrosse at Syracuse.
NC: Looking back, what moment sticks out for you as one of the greatest in your lacrosse career?
CL: There are so many… but some of the big ones that I remember are: winning the New York State Lacrosse Championship and being ranked number one nationally my Senior year at West Genesee; winning a National Championship at Syracuse; and probably my best – and proudest moment – was representing my country, as part of Team USA, and winning the 1994 and 1998 World Championships. Wearing the red, white and blue is one of the greatest experiences ever!
Lockwood was selected as a two-time member of the U.S. Men’s National Team. He went on to win two gold medals for Team USA (in 1994 and 1998).
NC: What lesson did you learn on the field that stuck with you – and you've applied to life off the field?
CL: A lot of what I learned during my career, I’ve been able to apply inmy every day life. Specifically, dealing with adversity and pushing through difficult times on the field has helped me to do the same off the field.
NC: What advice do you have for young athletes who are looking to follow in your footsteps?
CL: Work hard. Especially on your own, after practice sessions are over. The kids that get after it and practice on their own, away from scheduled practices will be the above average and elite players of the future. Wall ball and thousands of shots help to perfect your skills as well.
Charlie Lockwood is a Territory Sales Manager for STX who resides in Syracuse with his wife, Kristin and their four children, Olivia, Charlie, Luke and Reed.
NC: Where do you see the future of Lacrosse headed?
CL: I would love to see the game of lacrosse in the Olympics some day. I remember playing in an exhibition game in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Games. The game is growing so fast and getting so popular around the world – seeing it played on a global stage in the Olympics would be amazing!