Updated: Oct 28, 2020
By: Christopher Alvarez
Men’s lacrosse’s head coach, Gordon Purdie, Sr., understandably has some nostalgia to share about one of his players.
“This is sort of a family that’s been growing up here at Adelphi University. He grew up literally having this as his backyard going to the Waldorf School for as long as he did and coming over to Adelphi to watch games.”
He’s talking about his son, senior Gordon Purdie, Jr.
The Motamed Field has been home to the Purdie family for many years and now, as much as it saddens Gordon Purdie Jr., his time as a Panther is coming to an end. He’s currently pursuing a master’s degree in physical education, and it wasn’t a hard decision to choose Adelphi again. The Long Island native holds his teammates close and his family closer, he said. “The team and the brotherhood we have. I wouldn't go anywhere else.”
Even though Purdie Jr. thanked his dad—a coach at Adelphi for 12 seasons—for never pushing him into sports, the 23-year-old was always a lacrosse prodigy. From the age of three, he had his dad’s playbook drilled into his head. As a high school sophomore, he played for the Australian national team in the U-19 games. He won NorthEast 10 Rookie of the Year in 2016 and led his team with 37 assists, ranking fourth in NE10 in the first year as a graduate student.
With a game that requires a lot more dedication in the U.S., Purdie Jr. has been able to maintain a 3.7 GPA. Number 9 says having a busy schedule gives him structure.
“A lot of the coaches say that when kids are in season, they hold better grades than when they’re out of season. I think when you give somebody too much free time, they might go to waste with it,” said Purdie Jr. “But if you have a structured day, you’ll be more productive and get things done quicker.”
And good grades is the advice Purdie Jr. leaves for future student athletes. “If you have good grades and you have the skill and the talent, you will be successful.”
His successful mentality, Purdie Jr. said, is mostly due to his father.
“I think part of the reason is having a dad who is so successful. I want to go in his footsteps,” said Purdie. “And what he was able to accomplish at Adelphi has always been my goal, so that just drives me to do better each day.”
Each day during his off-season in Australia, the 5-foot, 8-inch attacker would wake up at 6 am to get his first workout of the day. At Adelphi, he trains tirelessly alongside head strength and conditioning coach Keith Ferrara and his teammates. With Ferrara, Purdie Jr. aims at getting stronger and remaining healthy. And for two hours at night, he runs plays and scrimmages with his teammates.
His outgoing work ethic has made him one of the first players to earn a contract from the Australian national team and eligible to continue his playing aspirations in his hometown.
Purdie Sr., having also played for the national team, does not doubt his son’s skills. “I think that Gordon is ready, and I think that the key things that I see in him—and that the coaches might see in Gordon--are not just his skill set but that he’s a very smart player.”
“Like father, like son,” Purdie Jr. once captioned a social media post. It is no coincidence that both of them share the same name and were both lacrosse stars, since there was already a legacy of Gordons and a family celebrating the sport they love.
Purdie Jr. not only flourishes on the field, but as a friend too. He has been a role model figure to a lot of his teammates. Another senior attackman, Nicolas Racalbuto, is the closest to Purdie Jr and together, they call themselves “the duo.” He too was brought up by Adelphi athletics, as his family also played for the Brown and Gold. After watching Purdie Jr. play his first season, Racalbuto was inspired to learn from him.
“When I was coming to the games, I was watching Gordon and I just said you know he has an unbelievable skill set and I looked up to him and I just want to build a good relationship with him,” he said.
And that opportunity to build a relationship with his mentor came quickly. “My freshman year he was my roommate. He took me under his wing and showed me the ins and outs of the school and lacrosse and how the coaches coach and everything that comes with that.”
“The duo” are each other’s backbone on and off the field. A bromance relationship that Racalbuto best describes as loving and caring, will never be broken.
“We look after each other since day one on and off the field no matter what no matter what the circumstances are, '' said Racalbuto. “I honestly don’t see us losing that duo mentality off the field. It’s something that’s very special.”
As Purdie Jr. finishes his last year as a graduate student, there is still one more thing he said he owes Adelphi after they have been so great to him. He looks to end the 19-year drought and bring home his first and Adelphi’s eighth NCAA National Championship trophy.
“Our goal was to win a national championship, but we haven’t been able to. In the past we have come close. We made it to the final four my sophomore year, but we haven't been able to pull through all the way,” said Purdie Jr. “Hopefully this year we can make it happen.”
From one man to another, Racalbuto gives some last words to his once bunkmate and longtime friend as they prepare to go their separate ways. “Just keep doing what you’re doing with your ethic and keep striving for greatness,” said Racalbuto. “I have extreme confidence in what you’re doing no matter what it is.”
“We still have a lot of golf games in the summer!” said Purdie Jr.
From the one who paved the way to the one following in his footsteps, dad and coach Purdie Sr. gives his pupil the best fatherly advice he can. “Go out and just be the best you could be every day and enjoy the game you have the opportunity to play.”
Motamed Field became a symbol of family as it is here where many Gordon generations came together to share their love for the lacrosse sport. Now, Purdie Jr, Sr. and Racalbuto will need each other on their last game of the season to walk off the field and say goodbye to a great family tradition.