US Lacrosse Magazine has partnered with Blaxers Blog to produce a series of stories that illuminate the minority lacrosse experience and promote the accomplishments of those individuals who have defied stereotypes to succeed in the sport.
Leaders aren’t defined by skill; they’re measured by their ability to lift up others. The late Edward Taylor Coombs exemplified every aspect of what leadership represents. His infectious spirit lit every room he walked into as he pushed others to be better versions of themselves.
Tragedy struck the lacrosse community in 2011 when the Marist freshman was a passenger in a DUI-related car accident and died in his hometown of Horsham, Pa. Coombs’ family and friends took the initiative to tell his story while continuing his mission.
EDWARD TAYLOR COOMBS
Hometown: Horsham, Pa.
College: Marist (2011)
High School: Hatboro-Horsham (2007-10)
Eric and Forrestine Coombs instilled the values of initiative and humility into both of their children. These factors strengthened the roots of an eternal standard. Knowledge of Black history and paternal Barbadian heritage were constant lessons Edward and Erin Coombs found motivation in.
“Our parents raised us the same, and we were always in sync,” Erin Coombs said. “It was important for us to learn about the sacrifices our grandparents made to get here.”
Erin Coombs had a tight bond with her late brother, as he protected throughout her life. As children, the duo would communicate through the wall that separated their rooms. When traveling on vacation or attending family functions, their connection was inseparable. Erin yearned for the big city, but Edward enjoyed being a small-town figure in Horsham.
“He loved being known in certain places without being cocky about it,” Erin Coombs said. “A little of himself was everywhere.”
Starting in the fifth grade, Edward began playing lacrosse and instantly fell in love. He later played travel lacrosse for Rebel Elite.
As a teenager, he mentored Duke attackman Michael Sowers while playing under Sowers’ father, David, at Hatboro-Horsham. Michael Sowers elaborated on his mentor’s impact during an interview last year on “The Time & Space Podcast,” hosted by Nazareth alumni Francis Donald and Jordan Hirsh.
“He was one of my favorite players growing up, and I idolized him on and off the field by the way he carried himself,” Sowers said. “I watched him play football and bring those moves to lacrosse. I tried to do that, too.”
As a senior in high school, Coombs was named conference MVP and an all-state selection after guiding his team to a league championship and state tournament berth.
“He was one of my favorite players growing up, and I idolized him on and off the field by the way he carried himself.” — Michael Sowers
MAKING THE GRADE
As a youth, Edward found a love for learning, as both of his grandmothers served as educators. One served as a special education teacher, and the other was a high school business instructor. During the summer, they would summon him from playing with friends to learn from flash cards and complete workbooks.
“He was an avid reader who wasn’t afraid to ask for help,” Erin Coombs said.
While he developed his skills at Hatboro-Horsham, Coombs was a consistent honor roll scholar. His principal appointed him to join the National Youth Leadership Forum on Law and Crime Scene Investigations (CSI) event in Washington, D.C. The six-day competitive law program consisted of hands-on legal training, instruction from law school faculty and interactions with top law professionals in courthouse settings.
Later as adults, the Coombs siblings had invaluable conversations regarding life goals, encouraging each other in their collegiate studies. Edward aspired to become a lawyer once he graduated from Marist. Erin completed her Political Science and…