LNP Sports 365 Day 217

In this 1987 file photo, Franklin & Marshall football coach Tom Gilburg talks with co-captain Chuck Dixon. Today's LNP Sports 365 entry looks at the run-up to the 1999 season, which marked Gilburg's silver anniversary with the team.

Many likely best remember Tom Gilburg's time at Franklin & Marshall as the Diplomats' all-time winningest football coach, compiling a 160-112-2 record over 28 seasons from 1974 through 2002.

But did you know he got his college coaching start as the Diplomats' men's lacrosse coach from 1964 through 1966?

"I had no previous experience coaching at all when I took that job at F&M," Gilburg recalled years later in an F&M press release about his Hall of Fame induction. "I was still with the Colts then and I wanted a place to workout in the off season. I went to F&M and Woody Sponaugle (the Director of Athletics) said I could use the facilities. He also said they needed a lacrosse coach. I had played lacrosse at Syracuse and liked the game."

Gilburg had never played lacrosse before he arrived at Syracuse but was recruited by the lacrosse coach to give the sport a try.

Anyways, following an 0-8 record in his first season as F&M's lacrosse coach in 1964, Gilburg earned the first win of his head coaching career on March 24, 1965, when the F&M club lacrosse team beat Notre Dame, 12-8.

F&M was a club lacrosse program back then. And after that 1966 season, Gilburg went on to serve as Hofstra's defensive coordinator and linebackers' coach for the football team and assistant coach for the men's lacrosse team from 1966 through 1970. He also Lehigh University's linebackers' coach and head men's lacrosse coach from 1971 through the spring of 1974 before becoming F&M's head football coach.

Gilburg, as some might know, is the father to Stacy Rucci (Gilburg), who is the mother to sons Hayden and Nolan Rucci. Stacy was a standout field hockey player at Manheim Township and later an All-American at Penn State. Hayden is currently a tight end at the University of Wisconsin, and Nolan is a Warwick junior football standout and arguably the top offensive lineman recruit in the country for the Class of 2021.

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