The Fifth Quarter:  Finding Peter Kohn




Pete:  It took a long time for me to find myself.


Graham:  Middlebury has been a place for him to find and accept himself, just as anyone needs to as they grow older.


McClennan:  There’s no part of Peter that has to hide behind any façade, he’s about as genuine as they come. There are so few people as generous and giving as Peter is…


Fox:  I think we’ve all benefited.


Fox:  I think we’ve given him energy, and he’s given us a look on life that’s broader than if we just had a regular team manager.


Wheeler:  Everything he does and says is so supportive which is the style of the Middlebury lacrosse players.


Heffernan:  Pete’s a very unique and special person.


Heffernan:  No matter how you define friendship… no matter how you define it, clearly friendship exists with Pete and his Middlebury family.


Mahaney:  I think the biggest thing that Pete brings is that he is a vehicle for people to express their goodness. 





Grube:  Jerry Schmidt, a legendary coach at Hobart had told me about Pete so I had this picture, this vague picture of who Pete Kohn was…


Schmidt:  I started a club lacrosse team, called the university team, this was ’63, my first year out of college.  And it was called the university team, and we needed an equipment man and my friendship with Peter got stronger and stronger over time and I asked Pete and he said yes and the rest is history.  I think that was his real beginnings in the lacrosse community.


Grube:  We originally met in’77 at Rutgers when I was on a group of coaches who were choosing the US World team.  Pete was at a stage where the club lacrosse scene was getting a little old. 


Moran:  He was going through some difficult times with health and we were all worried about him and concerned about him…


Grube:  I just sensed that it would be neat to have him come up to Middlebury.  And at that time the intention was not for him to come up to Middlebury permanently.


Schmidt:  It was Jim Grube being able to see the goodness in Pete, not only the goodness and hard work, but the goodness as a person and he wanted to share that with Middlebury, which Jim loved dearly.


Grube:  What evolved out of that was a chance for Pete to come up to Middlebury, to move out of Baltimore for the first time in his life…


Grube:  This was a chance at close to 50 to do this.


Coash:  No one knew too much about Pete when we first met him, we all knew that we wanted to help him in any way we could. 


Ford:  One of the beauties about Pete is that he was embraced immediately at Middlebury; there was no transition at all with the kids and the players.


Grube:  That team got to know a guy who was a complete stranger, whose avocation was to be a field manager and lacrosse was his game, and the marriage was complete—these guys at Middlebury loved Pete and, of course, Pete loved them.





McCardell:  He has become in so many ways, I think, a symbol of Middlebury lacrosse; simply essential to the work of the team in its practices and its contests. 


Sideli:  He is Middlebury lacrosse.


Marlow:  He is a representative for lacrosse; he is a representative of the highest order for Middlebury College, and a dearly beloved and well respected person who brings a special part to the game.


Hopkins:  He is so insightful and offers so much to everyone.  The more he was involved with our team, I thought the better.


Seymour:  He has a way about him, the way he helps and his kind heart.  He’s always giving of himself to the program.  It’s a pretty amazing thing.


Howard:  When I look at other teams or I talk to friends who played at other colleges.  They definitely didn’t experience the same thing we did.  And we’re lucky and I feel fortunate to have been part of that.


Albanese:  This is his role in the family.  He is here to keep everyone together.  If you look at the generations of lacrosse players, he is like glue to the whole experience.  I think that’s how he sees his role in the family.


Hessian:  Everyone knows Pete and you can share Pete stories and it just sort of connects the all teams across the years.


Gifford:  Pete has been part of that all the whole way though and makes Middlebury lacrosse something different and something to be really proud of; and certainly it wouldn’t be the same without him.


McCardell:  There are certain terms that leap to mind.  One of those is commitment, another one of those is discipline, and another one of those is loyalty.


Foote:  I can’t quite say Pete’s our manager because he’s not really our manager; he’s way more than our manager.  A manager implies to me someone that just deals with your equipment and that’s not Pete’s role at all, really.  What he really is is inspiration.


Graham:  Pete for me explodes in moments of embrace; of just what’s being in the moment, living in the moment.


Grube:  With Pete there is a desire to control his destiny to be in control of himself, to be in control of his emotions, to feel anchored and he has a handle on his life.  Prior to Middlebury, I think that did not exist in his life, that he didn’t have the forum to speak his mind and have people listen.


Graham:  He senses a purpose and there’s a place for him there to do what he’s supposed to do.  This is what he’s meant to do and this is the place where he found that.


Sideli:  I see him in juxtaposition to these kids today at Middlebury, not dissimilar to how I was, good solid high income family kids who lived a life of great grades in school and played sports and they obviously have health… and then there’s Pete.  They have to learn, they have to accept him.


Raymond:  You get involved with someone like Peter which you can’t anticipate… it’s nothing like you thought, it’s infinitely better than you anticipated.  He makes it more fun than it could ever be without him.


McCardell:  If you spend anytime with him at all you see the transcendent nature of him, that transcendent goodness and care that he possesses.


Quinn:  When we’re all caught up in day to day events and how serious our lives are, Pete sort of makes a statement that is profound in its simplicity.  He has a certain perspective on thinks on what’s important and a concept of life that’s helpful to all of us. 





Mahaney:  The great thing about Pete is that when you’re on the field, Pete does his job as a manager exceptionally. 


Doyle:  I think he does his job very well and he takes pride in it.  The first one to collect all the balls and the first one to make sure we have all our gear together


Grube:  Pete really feels that getting water, sponging guys off, making sure that cleats are cleaned, there’s dignity in that work.  Pete feels that this role is essential to the success of the team.


McClennan:  That little tongue depressor that’s pulling that tuft of grass and dirt out of your shoe could be the difference between winning and losing in his mind; the gum that he hands out.


Moran:  The Wrigley’s company ought to send boxes and boxes of gum because he’s probably the best spokesman for chewing gum in the United States.


Quinn:  We’ve got this interesting tug of war where we’re at the end of games and we’re trying to get out of there, where Peter is incredibly conscientious about making sure that he is the last person to leave, and there’s not a cup left behind, there’s not a stick left behind, there’s nothing left behind.  At times guys can get sort of frustrated with him, then sure enough he shows up with someone’s Discman or he shows up with a favorite stick that someone left behind… and everyone sort of takes a deep breath and says thank goodness for Peter because no one else does this stuff.


Anderson:  Those might seem like small duties, but the thing is the consistency, he’s there every day, and he does that with a passion that may only he could bring to such tasks like that.


Doyle:  The essence of Kohn is that he’s so much more than those little tasks.





Grube:  The records and all of that, they’re there, and we’ve had great teams, but it’s the people.


Quinn:  Pete’s an integral part of the overall experience… it’s a big picture experience at Middlebury; it’s not about winning and losing.


Hopkins:  He’s always speaking about finding the balance and remembering that this is all about life and that you have to give all you have not only on the field but with everything that you’ve been given.


Fox:  Whether you won or lose, at the end of the day, you were always going to be ready and I think that’s a translation that applies to life in general.


Fox:  I think Pete was just another dimension of that.  Pete was another facet of the learning experience.


Lamb:  Whenever Middlebury goes to play Williams, Peter puts on Purple and Gold socks.  Well the Middlebury guys tell him to take them off .  They say what are you doing Pete, you’ve got to root for Middlebury”.  But that’s his thing for me.


Doyle:  It’s one of our games-- to try to get him to say “Williams sucks…” and you’ll never catch him saying that. 


Howard:  Pete’s philosophy is that you go out and leave everything on the field.  Try your hardest and as long as you give 110% into the game you’re going to be a winner, win or lose.


Grube:  At the end of the day Middlebury will win its share of games, but the way it’s done is definitely more important.





McClennan:  Keeper of the Kohn, it’s not anything you volunteer to, it’s not bestowed upon you, it just kind of happens.


Doyle:  The Keeper is responsible for all aspects of Kohn duty.


McClennan:  The Keeper of the Kohn would just make sure that everybody understood that a respect for Pete was absolutely critical


McClennan:  The keeper of the Kohn is the person who knew where the line was and could absolutely get the best out of Pete in terms of participation with everybody…


Ford:  If you’re a keeper, that puts you in an elite class… I just happened because Grube contrived the whole thing, I just happened to be the original Keeper, but there’s a bunch of kids who will remember for the rest of their lives their experience with Pete.


Ericsson:  It’s a reward in itself just having that responsibility.


McClennan:  The Keeper of the Kohn was someone who knew where the line was and could absolutely get the best out of Pete in terms of participation with everybody.


Hopkins:  There is no real female keeper of the Kohn, but I kind of took under my wing a lot so I was kind of the ‘quasi-keeper’


Ford:  They’re getting as much from Pete as they’re giving to Pete; really.


Leach:  We just felt with Dave it just was a huge, huge growing opportunity and we’re just thrilled with what we’ve seen in the last 12 months.  I noticed too that on trips he would always go and get Peter his food first and make sure he was seated and all set.


Quinn:  He knows that people have given of themselves for him, but in such a pure way, gives back 10 fold.


McClennan:   For all that Pete gives, the little that we do to give back to make sure that he is taken care of is the least that we can do.





Grube:  When a lot of people meet Pete for the first time, it’s part of a Middlebury reception, and Pete will be there and he’ll be taking pictures of everyone.  For someone who doesn’t know Pete, they can’t figure this out,


Graham: He’s got cameras coming out of every pocket.  It gives us a way to connect with Pete, we can take the cameras and take pictures of him with the people he trying to capture.


Fox:  He takes those pictures and he collects them and he’s got volumes and volumes of albums.


Moran:  And in those scrapbooks there are pictures of young men who eventually went to stardom in lacrosse or other sports, or are right now today unbelievable people in various professions… doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, teachers, you name it, Pete’s got pictures of them.


Lamb:  If we can get all the photographs… the millions of photographs.  500,000 are not focused, but the other 500,000 are going to be some great pictures of some great people.


Graham:  So we have our stories of our moments with Pete, but Pete sneaks up on us with a camera and he captures OUR moment.  He’s documenting our lives.


Lamb:   He, in his own way, with those instamatic cameras, he has done of history of lacrosse for the last 40 years.







My original name was Myron G. Kohn.


I’m a field manager for Middlebury College in Vermont


When I came to Middlebury it made a big difference in my life.


I was not able to work much when I was younger.  By going into club lacrosse I had something to do for four months every spring.


For a long time I felt well I’m the one that has the handicap, not realizing that other people have problems too.  I had to learn that!


I was finally accepted as a full person and began seeing my dreams come true.  I was no longer fighting myself, and it was a relief, a real relief that I wasn’t.


I always try to give my best.


So many people have done so much for me… more than anybody would ever believe; so many people would do so much for one person… I’m stunned.


God gives us all gifts and that’s the gift he gave me, understanding young people.


I’ve had such a wonderful career, a terrific career, there’s nothing more for me, my dreams have come true like Cal Ripkin.  I can’t compare myself to what he’s done, but his dreams came true and mine have also. 





Schmidt:  I think we’re all here for a reason.  And the reason for Pete being here is… a very complicated question, while complicated sometimes it’s a very simple answer people - need people like Peter.


Moran:  I couldn’t ask for a better friend, and I think the day God enabled me to get close to him was a great day.


Kelly:  We established the Peter Kohn Award, and we give it out every year at the FCA breakfast that we host at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Breakfast that we host at the US Lacrosse Coaches Convention.  It’s model off of a scripture in the gospel of John that says “no greater love has any man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”.  Peter Kohn models that.  He’s given his life to serve and bless others. 


McNamara:  Pete’s impact and the legacy he’s left upon FCA lacrosse and the lacrosse community, this is just one small way that we can thank him and make sure that the legacy of Pete Kohn can live on for a long time..





Moran:   I rekindled some friendships with some Australian players that I played against who had come to the United States to tour.  The song that they remember the most is not God Bless America, not America the Beautiful, but Park School.





Grube:  I would bet my bottom dollar that there are hundreds of athletes now who look back at their Middlebury experience and see that the role that Pete played: the laughs, the learning to incorporate someone like this into a team and just have him be a friend, is a huge part of their education.


Graham:  The lesson of acceptance, love, living in the moment to the fullest.  He lives it.  He embraces it.  And he embraces us in that.


McCardell:  Education takes place around the clock and in all venues. 


Albanese:  In lacrosse we won a lot of games and it’s great to win a lot of games, but ultimately it’s really about the collective team experience.


Quinn:  At the end of the day, Pete is a catalyst for bringing it all back to what’s this all about: family love for each other, and a pure enjoyment of the game.


Grube: I think for some players, the person who cleans cleats, who brings out the water, who shags balls, is not a special person, he’s just somebody there.  At Middlebury that position of field manager has been elevated to a very important job.


Mahaney:  Anything he does he does with an innocence that most of us lose over time and I think Pete has been blessed with having that sense of goodness and innocence his whole life.


Foote:  He is so selfless, that he makes us look beyond our small issues and differences.  He makes us better people.


Schmidt:  I’ve never met anybody who would even approach his kindness and his positive nature.


Moran:  He’s going to live forever… he’s going to live forever in the hearts of everybody’s that’s become associated with him.


Grube:  There are a lot of good coaches, a lot of good programs, and there are places that have good facilities, good schools, but there’s only one Pete Kohn.





Starring Peter Kohn

Directed by David Gaynes

Executive Producer – Robert Sideli

Produced by James Grube


This project was made possible through the generosity of members of the following groups:

  • Middlebury Alumni Lacrosse Club
  • Middlebury Women’s Alumni Lacrosse Association
  • Friends of Middlebury Lacrosse (Vail Alumni)
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Middlebury Lacrosse Parents
  • Middlebury Staff
  • Friends of Peter Kohn



Copyright © 2003

Middlebury Alumni Lacrosse Club