For Immediate Release: March 3, 2010
Contact: David O'Brian (
Phone: 607-777-6478

Rising to the Top

Synopsis: Four years ago, Jeff Rurey joined the men's lacrosse team as a walk on. Today, he is a team captain. As he has progressed on the field, he has kept his academics as a key priority.

In August 2006, Jeff Rurey arrived on campus as a freshman well aware that his athletic career was probably over. He had come to Binghamton mainly for its academics and was willing to put his lacrosse career on hold. With nothing to lose, however, Rurey decided to try out for the men’s lacrosse team. He was unaware at the time of how that decision would change his life.

“I came to Binghamton because I wanted to get the most out of my education,” he said. “ I decided that academics were more important . Since Binghamton had a lacrosse team, I decided I had nothing to lose if I tried out.”

This past fall, Rurey was named one of the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team’s three captains. He not only made the squad as a freshman, but was named to the America East All-Rookie Team in 2007. For the past three season, Rurey was named to the America East Academic Honor Roll and in 2008, he was inducted into the National College Athlete Honors Society.

All of those honors were not on Rurey’s mind when he showed up for the first day of fall practice in 2006. He was given an opportunity to try out for the team, which was a pretty anxious time period for him.

“It was the most nerve wracking thing I have ever been through,” he said. “ Every day seemed like a national championship for me. I had to play the best I could but I think for those couple of weeks, I might have played the best lacrosse of my life.”

Although he was not a highly-recruited freshman, Rurey was known by the Binghamton coaching staff. They knew that he had a good shot at making the squad.

“Jeff certainly didn’t go under the radar,” head coach Ed Stephenson said. “ He was a high scorer at Vestal High School. We knew right away that he was going to obviously make the team. We made sure that we made room for him.”

If there was a moment that the rest of the team knew Rurey was going to be a significant addition to the program, it came during a game during that 2006 fall season.

“We had a tournament down in Maryland and Jeff, as a walk on, got an absolutely (huge) hit on him,” fellow senior captain Griffin McLoughlin said. “But he got right up from that and scored a goal. That was probably the biggest lasting impression of his fall ball. That was definitely the tipping point of us knowing that he was going to make the team and be a great contributor. It showed a lot about his character and his determination.”

Rurey’s character and determination can be attributed to his parent Roger and Joan Rurey. They supported his athletic endeavors while at the same time, showing him what was important on and off the field.

“My parents have definitely led me in the right direction both on and off the field,” he said. “They kept on me that hard work pays off and that has been some of the best advice I have ever gotten.”

“You got to give credit to his parents who raised him,” Stephenson said. “ He has been just a fine person since day one, which is a reflection of the characteristics that he was raised with.”

Rurey has two older sisters, Erin Moore and Elizabeth Rurey. Moore is currently as Assistant Athletic Director at Binghamton. Like her brother, she too excelled in academics, having graduated Summa Cum Laude from SUNY Cortland in 2003. She also credits Roger and Joan as the people most responsible for her success.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for our parents,” she said. “Having them show us the balance between working hard and having fun had helped all three of us.”

Moore was away at Cortland during much of Jeff’s high school career and only heard about his accomplishments. Now that she works at Binghamton, things have changed.

“We are a very close family and Jeff’s games have brought the five of us together a lot during the season,” she said. “I see him on the (Events Center) concourse all the time and talk to his teammates and coaches so I know what he is up to.”

Since 2006, Moore and the rest of the family have kept close watch on a career that has exceeded the expectations for most walk-on players. Rurey was a pivotal part of the Bearcats’ man-up unit as a freshman. He has routinely had one of the highest GPAs on the team and is widely seen as one of the hardest workers.

“He is a terrific leader and a terrific student,” Stephenson said. “ I just can’t say enough about him. He has spent a lot of time during this off-season improving his skills, his strength and his athleticism and it has shown on the field.”

Although Rurey was willing to give up lacrosse in order to get the most out of his education, it has been lacrosse that has helped him become a better student.
“Being in athletics has gotten me into a regiment,” Rurey said. “ You get home from practice and you've got to do your work. There is no two ways about it. Having time broken up has helped me a lot.”

Among the Binghamton men’s lacrosse program, Rurey is far from alone in placing a strong emphasis on his academics. Last year, the combined GPA of the Bearcats was a 3.41.

“There is definitely a closeness on our team because we all strive to do well both on and off the field,” Rurey said. “It has mostly been just leading by example. You just do your work and hopefully the other guys will see the high marks and know that they have to do the work too.”

Rurey’s determination has not changed since he came to Binghamton but he feels has grown in other ways.

“I feel like I have matured both physically and mentality since I have been here,” he said. “ The whole experience has prepared me well for the outside world that I am about to face.”

“With the improvements he has shown lacrosse-wise, skill-wise and physically over these last four years, you just have to be happy that he was named captain,” McLoughlin said. “It’s been a great story.”

Rurey’s story goes beyond anything he could have envisioned four years ago.
“I came to Binghamton because I wanted to make the most of my academic career,” he said. “Lacrosse came with it. These last four years have been a dream.”

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