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posted 04.23.2012 at 3.17 p.m. by Matt Forman

Fifty Years Ago Today: Lacrosse on SI Cover

Fifty years ago today, the first and only lacrosse player ever appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated — an accomplishment considered among the pinnacle of sports, in the oracle of sports photography.

Jerry Schmidt — a two-time First-Team All-American attackman at Johns Hopkins who later held head coaching positions at Hobart and Princeton, along with assistant gigs at Calvert Hall High (Md.), Cornell and Navy — donned the cover of SI's April 23, 1962 edition. The corresponding headline? "The Tough Game."

A complete copy of the 1962 issue can be found here, as a flip book. Sports Illustrated ran this retrospective about Schmidt in 1998, that called him "lacrosse's dominating force, the forerunner of the physical attackman. He was 5'10" and 190 pounds, fast and tough and mean. Schmidt was willing to put a shoulder down and turn the competition into roadkill, much to the shock of defensemen used to facing smaller forwards."

Schmidt was also an assistant to Richie Moran on the 1978 U.S. men's national team. He was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1982, and The Baltimore Sun wrote this 2004 obituary after he died from complications related to diabetes.

How long will it take for lacrosse to grace SI's cover once again? Who would you like to see make the cover?

Sports Illustrated was first published in August 1954, and lacrosse made its only cover appearance eight years later. Here's to hoping lacrosse will make many more in the next 50.