What an interesting project I have assigned myself this week at Powell Lacrosse. My co-worker asked, “Ryan, when did Matt Palumb start wearing football pants in the cage for the Orange?” I thought for a minute and realized that I didn’t have any idea of how the pants came about. One thing that I did know for sure is that I’ve always thought that it was cool. I remember traveling back from a 1989 game in the dome and stoping by the Champion Outlet Store in Mattydale, NY. I went in and bought myself a pair of footballs pants that I would be able to wear in the backyard games with my brothers and friends from town.
Because of my lack of knowledge of this really cool topic I thought it would be best to go and sit with my buddy Matty P for a bit and find out more about something that several lacrosse players and fans have been curious about. Let’s see what Matt had to say…
RP: When did you first put on the football pants when going out to play goalie? Practice, Game? Do you remember the very first time this took place?
MP: Love the question, will never forget it: I was usually a “shorts” goalie in high school and early college. Midway thorough my freshman year, I hurt my knee, and had to wear one of those gigantic Lenox-hill knee braces when I came back my sophomore year. Simmie told me he didn’t like the idea of me wearing shorts and showing the enemy the brace, and I never really like sweats, so I asked Kyle if I could wear football pants. Kyle told me he wouldn’t give me football pants, that the football coaches wouldn’t like it. So I asked him if I get Coach Mac’s permission, then he’d give them to me? Yes. I literally walk out towards the original Coyne field and spring football practice is over and the team and coaches are walking out of the gate. I walk right up to Coach Mac and told him that I needed his permission to wear orange football pants. He put his arm around me, we marched right into Kyle’s office, and Coach Mac told him to get me a pair of orange football pants……he looked down at my practice jersey, looked back at Kyle and said, “don’t forget to sew the 10 on the hip!” God’s honest truth, ask Kyle!! That was a week before my first start as a sophomore, which was our opener at Hopkins. That was the first time I ever wore the Orange football pants. I’ll never forget it; I walked into the locker room and Kyle always had our unis hangin in your locker….and there they were! I put em on, and ran into Coach Desko in the doorway on h way out to warm up. I’ll never forget it, he takes a step back and looks at me in the orange jersey and orange pants and says, “Hello, Orange-man! Great moment.
RP: Can you share with us the funniest story you can recall about the pants?
MP: Best story about the pants is a blend into where the pants are today; this is an amazing true story. I’m working camps in the summer of ’90, just finished my senior year. I’m at a camp somewhere in New England, and towards the end of the week, I’m low on cash, want to go out, so I sell my orange football pants to a kid for $50. I always regretted that I did that. About 12-13 years later, I’m in Worcetser, at a bar before a concert I’m going to see. I’m probably 33-34 at the time, and a guy is looking at me who is probably 25. This guy looks at me and says, “are you Matt Palumb?” I said yes. He said, “I got your pants!” I told him I ways regretted getting rid of them, he said, “to be honest with you, I don’t really care about them any more, I’ll send em back to you.” I gave him my address and never saw him again. About three months later, I’m home on a Saturday in S. Deerfield, MA, and the UPS guy knocks on my door…..I have no idea what it is. I rip open this big, plastic bag open and there are my orange pants.
RP: Was there only ever the one pair? Or did you have others?
MP: There was only one pair in three years. Those pants went 38-1 from ’88-’90. They sat one game, the ’89 final vs Hopkins at Maryland, decided to go with shorts ’cause it was so hot out. Played like shit for most of it, had a good 4th qtr!
RP: Did anyone ever give you crap about wearing these pants? (opposing teams, fans, players, coaches)
MP: Funny, nobody ever gave me sh*t about them on the field. The pants usually had a pretty good lead!
RP: Do you know of any others that have worn football pants in the goal?
MP: Jamie Molloy (’80), SU All-American and all-time saves leader, wore white football pants and was a great goalie; loved watching him play! John Galloway also wore orange pants in my honor one night. He didn’t look quite right and never cam back to them!
RP: Did you play football?
MP:I payed football in high school and loved it. My dad is a football guy, was the varsity football coach at West Genny for 25 years..
RP: What was the biggest win you ever experienced wearing the pants?
MP: Biggest win for the pants was probably Cornell for the ’88 title in the Dome. We had 21 saves, me and the pants, took home all the trophys!
Thanks for checking out my story about Matt Palumb and his Orange Football Pants. If you have a lacrosse related question that is interesting and your looking to get the story, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get the story!