Howard ‘Cookie’ Krongard, a two-time All-American goalie at Princeton and an ageless lacrosse wonder who remained active as a player into his 80s, passed away on Wednesday, May 3 from cancer. He was 82 years of age.
Krongard was inducted into four halls of fame, including the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1985.
A native of Baltimore, Krongard started playing lacrosse when he was 5 years old. His love of the game kept him on the field until as recently as two years ago, playing in goal regularly in the adult Florida Lacrosse League, where he faced shots fired by players who were over 50 years younger.
“The way he stands in goal and faces competitive players week after week is a legendary accomplishment,” said teammate Reed Smith in this 2021 USA Lacrosse Magazine story about Krongard. “He is leading the way for adult lacrosse, whether he realizes it or not. We owe him a debt of gratitude.”
Krongard, an attorney who worked in the state department during President George W. Bush’s administration from 2005-08, found his lacrosse niche as a goalie and played the position for more than 60 years. The Parkland, Fla., resident always looked for pickup games, scrimmages, and tournaments.
“I challenge anyone to find a guy who has seen more rubber than Cookie,” said Todd Adler, an attackman from Cornell who played regularly with Krongard in Florida. “His longevity is unparalleled in lacrosse, or any other sport.”
Growing up, Krongard played attack and often faced off as a midfielder, following in the footsteps of his brother Buzzy, also a Hall of Fame member who preceded him at Princeton. At the start of his junior year in high school, the coaches needed a goalie, and the quick and agile Krongard fit the bill. It’s a position he never relinquished.
“Lacrosse is a terrific game. It’s really who I am in a sense, in terms of commitment and dedication,” Krongard said in 2021. “It’s a lot like life. It’s teamwork, but it’s also individual drive, integrity — to the game and to your teammates — and loyalty.”
After concluding his All-America career at Princeton in 1961, Krongard began his extensive club lacrosse career the following year in Boston. He went on to become an eight-time United States Club Lacrosse Association All-Star and two-time USCLA Player of the Year (1968 and 1974).
Krongard was vice president of the USCLA in 1969-70, and director of the Lacrosse Foundation from 1982-84. In 1983, he was voted USILA Man of the Year, and in 1995, he was inducted into the New York Sports Hall of Fame.
His appreciation of the Native roots of lacrosse also led Krongard to become a strong supporter of Native American causes for much of his adult life. He frequently spent time on reservations working with members of the lacrosse community, and became a generous supporter of Native Vision, a national youth enrichment and empowerment initiative.
“He (was) devoted to the kids and the program, and he worked tirelessly to ensure that people knew lacrosse was originally a Native American game,” said Allison Barlow, director at the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health.
Information regarding a memorial event in the fall will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information about the event, please visit www.cookiekrongard.com.