Robert “Bob” DiGiovanni started out as a goalie at Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, PA. He then played goalie for Cornell University from 1960-1963 and won the Cornell University team
MVP award in 1963.
Coming to Ann Arbor in 1965, he helped establish the first University of Michigan team and played for several years before serving as player/coach. He coached off and on during the 1970’s before returning to coach full time from 1985 through 1997. While at Michigan, the team compiled a record of 198 wins and 54 losses, and never had a losing season. 1988 was the “Year of the Family” as Bob’s two sons played on the U of M team, a third son was ball boy, and wife Judy was the scorekeeper. It was a role she
filled for nearly all of his tenure in Ann Arbor.
In the early years, the Michigan Lacrosse Club had a very loose affiliation of Michigan students and interested lacrosse players from throughout the Ann Arbor community. Bob DiGiovanni moved the club towards an all undergraduate team, starting it on the path to its current varsity-club status.
While still coaching at Michigan, Bob founded and coached the Pioneer High School lacrosse team in 1990, with his youngest son playing as a senior. He coached the team from 1990 through 1995. In 1990, Bob, in his first year as head coach, led the young Pioneer team to its first B Division State Championship appearance. Two years later, Pioneer won the1992 B Division State Championship, the only state lacrosse championship in its history.
Pat Hayes began her lacrosse career at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grosse Pointe in 1960. She introduced the game at the school and played/scrimmaged games against Grosse Pointe University School and Kingswood.
From 1964-1970, she coached lacrosse and field hockey at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Bloomfield Hills. In 1985, she coached the JV basketball team at Seaholm High School in Birmingham. Her last coaching position was at Detroit Country Day School where she built a very successful program beginning at the Middle School all the way to the high school level.
Throughout her years at D.C.D.S., she also offered clinics in field hockey, lacrosse, and officiating. Many aspiring players and officials had their start at her clinics. Pat has had quite a career. She has umpired high school and college field hockey for 51 years. She has umpired lacrosse for the past 47 years.
Presently, along with her umpiring, she is also an assignor for high school lacrosse, field hockey, soccer, and volleyball. Her work and dedication has made an incredible difference in the lives of so many. We are honored to have her in the Michigan Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Robert W. (”Turf”) Kauffman was the first Michigan State University Men’s Varsity Lacrosse Coach. Turf Kauffman came to MSU as a football player, but left his mark as a lacrosse coach.
Turf played and coached MSU’s highly successful club teams during the 1960’s. Turf was a crease defender beginning in 1965, and later took on a full-time role as coach. Along with some of the club players (notably Larry Berger, who went on to become the national President of US Lacrosse), Turf played a key role in constituting men’s lacrosse as a varsity sport at MSU. From 1970 though 1996, the MSU men’s team was the first and only D-I varsity lacrosse program in the state of Michigan. The team’s last D-I game was a victory over Cornell in Spartan Stadium.
Turf continues his unflagging efforts in support of both men’s and women’s lacrosse. He hopes to regain varsity status for the MSU men’s team and to gain that status for the MSU women’s team as well. His efforts on behalf of both squads have been equivalent.
In this and many other ways, he has supported lacrosse in the state of Michigan at many levels over the past five decades. Turf is being honored for his personal service to lacrosse and for all the things his work has fostered. Turf planted a seed that has blossomed throughout Michigan and spread to the rest of our country.
Alumni of the MSU club and varsity programs have honored and served the game in a variety of ways. In addition to the notable example of Larry Berger, Turf and his programs have produced coaches, officials, athletic directors and lacrosse administrators in all capacities. It would be unfair to name all of Turf’s lacrosse progenies and their accomplishments, for fear of overlooking someone. But it is well known that many of his former players are working hard to follow in his footsteps and to honor the game that we all love so much.
We celebrate Turf’s accomplishments and everything he has built throughout his life. We honor him for his accomplishments and
look forward to his continuing efforts to grow the game and to improve our lacrosse community.
Elaine Torvinen has been involved in developing and shaping the voice of safe and knowledgeable lacrosse in Michigan for over twenty years. Although she never played the game, she dedicated herself to learning the rules to become an effective official.
She has been unrelenting in the recruiting and training of new officials as the game has grown in popularity throughout the state. Because of her dedication to the sport, and though encouragement from others affiliated with the game, such as Jean Blevernicht who introduced her to the game, she has become an important leader in the state lacrosse association. She is the key person at all the national rule interpretation meetings and she is currently Michigan’s only nationally ranked, active official.
Elaine has also organized countless clinics to educate aspiring officials and coaches in the game. In addition to writing the newsletters, she is a tireless worker on behalf of the game of lacrosse. Congratulations to Elaine on being inducted into the Michigan Lacrosse Hall of Fame. It is an honor richly deserved.