A staple of Salisbury University athletics is calling it a career.
At the conclusion of the 2020-21 athletic season, long-time head athletic trainer Pat Lamboni will step down.
Lamboni has dedicated nearly 40 years to the growth of Salisbury University’s athletic training program.
His journey at SU (then-Salisbury State College) began in 1976, when he transferred in from Essex Community College.
Lamboni was a student athletic trainer and a member of the baseball team at Salisbury prior to earning his bachelor’s degree in 1978.
During Lamboni’s tenure, Salisbury University has won 20 team national championships and 24 individual national championships.
Dr. Gerry DiBartolo, SU’s Director of Athletics and Campus Recreation, says that without Lamboni, SU athletics would not be where they are today.
“The unsung heroes of SU athletics have always been the athletic trainers,” DiBartolo said. “And Pat has been the leader of that incredible group. He is a quality individual, he is always true to his word and you can tell he loves this institution. He has always put the care and well-being of our student-athletes above all else.”
Sean Carroll, a senior on the Salisbury University football team, says that the team appreciates everything that Lamboni has done for the program.
“We can just tell that he really cares,” Carroll said. “We see all of the time he puts in. He is out there for every practice and every game. We will miss having his presence out there with us … He always tried to make us not only better players, but better people.”
Head field hockey coach and Associate Athletic Director Dawn Chamberlin called Lamboni irreplaceable.
“He’s a legend. Not only here at Salisbury, but in the entire field of athletic training,” Chamberlin said. “What he’s done for our student-athletes here, and for our athletic trainers who have gone through our undergraduate and graduate programs here, is just beyond parallel.”
Two of Lamboni’s daughters, Katy and Stacey Lamboni, played field hockey at Salisbury under Chamberlin.
Katy was a member of the ‘09 National Championship team at SU. Chamberlin said Lamboni’s reaction to his daughter winning a national championship was her favorite memory with him.
“The joy on his face really said it all,” Chamberlin said. “I could tell just how much it meant to him.”
Hunter Smith, who started the athletic training program here at Salisbury back in the 70’s, has served as one of Lamboni’s biggest mentors.
“He’s my inspiration to be the best athletic trainer and person that I can be,” Lamboni said. “He was the closest thing to a father figure for me and I am forever indebted to him.”
Lamboni said that one of the key factors in his decision was the added time to spend with his friends and family.
“I love this place and I have loved coming to work every day,” Lamboni said. “But I’ve missed out on a lot. I’m ready to live life on Lamboni family time, instead of Salisbury University time.”
Lamboni is proud of his tenure here at Salisbury, and especially proud of the athletic training program that he has seen grow from the time he first stepped foot on campus.
Under Lamboni’s oversight, Salisbury University has developed well-established undergraduate and graduate programs in athletic training.
“One thing that we have always enjoyed was seeing our graduates go on to do great things,” Lamboni said. “Every time one of them got a new job, we would sit back and think ‘that’s pretty cool that we had something to do with that.’”
In 2014, Lamboni was named to the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers Association’s Hall of Fame. He was also named Division III Head Athletic Trainer of the year by the National Athletic Trainers Association in 2010.
Lamboni leaves behind a legacy of hard work and dedication. He also leaves some big shoes to fill: shoes that Lamboni hopes someone can step into.
“I feel like I’ve built a nice house here,” Lamboni said. “I just hope someone comes along and expands on it.”
By TOMMY WEST
Photo courtesy of Sports Information.