Release: March 3, 2010
Contact: David O'Brian (email@example.com)
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 mens lacrosse team. He
was unaware at the time of how that decision would change his
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 mens
lacrosse teams 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 Rureys 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
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 didnt 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
Rureys 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 wouldnt be where we are today if it wasnt
for our parents, she said. Having them show us the
balance between working hard and having fun had helped all three
Moore was away at Cortland
during much of Jeffs 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 Jeffs 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
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 cant 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 mens 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.
Rureys 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
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. Its
been a great story.
Rureys 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.