Celebrating the Life of Larry Amar, USA Field Hockey Legend

by USA Field Hockey

Three years have passed since the tragic passing of USA Field Hockey Family's beloved Larry Amar. Although he is no longer with us in person, Larry’s legacy continues to live on through the athletes he coached, mentors he inspired, and friends and family he loved.

In his honor, the field hockey family can still purchase Larry Amar Stickers and Magnets by clicking here or donate to the Larry Amar Family Fund by clicking here. All Funds raised will go directly to the Amar Family.

Before his passing, Larry had a vision of installing a turf in his family garage so his children, Riley and Eli, could play at home year round. In October 2020, his vision came to life with the support of the USA Field Hockey Foundation and AstroTurf. Click here to read about the Amar Family Turf.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – January 24, 2020 – Over the years, Larry Amar was a number of things in countless individual’s lives: a colleague, teammate, coach, veteran and above all, a husband, father and kindhearted soul. The USA Field Hockey Family celebrates the life of Larry, who passed away earlier this week. His dedication and love for the game was obvious to all who knew him and will be missed dearly.

“It’s hard to accept that Larry is no longer with us, his memory however will live on within the [field] hockey family,” said Craig Parnham, USA Field Hockey’s Director of Coach Education and Learning. “He was a great coach but more than that, he was a great man, a man of integrity and honor. We will miss him greatly.”

The entire USA Field Hockey Family extends its thoughts and condolences to Larry’s family, especially his loving wife, Abbey, and two children, Riley and Eli.

A service to celebrate his life will take place on Wednesday, January 29 at the
Hoover Funeral Home in Hershey, Pa. The visitation will take place at 11:00 a.m. with a service to follow at 12:00 p.m. A reception will take place after at The Mill in Hershey. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to support the Larry Amar Family Fund.
"We are deeply saddened with the loss of an amazing coach, father, husband and friend,” added Caroline Nelson-Nichols, U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach. “Larry truly loved this team and sport and he surrounded this team with love every day. We miss him and will strive to honor him in everything we do moving forward. Our most sincere condolences go out to his family. We miss you, Brother."

“Larry was a remarkable coach, family-man and human-being,” said Lauren Moyer, USWNT athlete. “It was an honor and privilege to share the field with him. His passion for this team and all of its individual pieces was palpable. No matter the moment, Larry always had a way of knowing exactly what to say. He was an invaluable and truly loved member of our family and words cannot express how much he will be missed.”

Born on February 24, 1972, Larry stood out athletically at a young age. He first represented the U.S. Men’s National Team at the age of 16, while also representing the U-18 USMNT and U-21 USMNT. He was one of the few individuals to ever represent all three squads simultaneously. The California native was a recognizable face in the USMNT program from 1987 to 1999, accumulating more than 200 international caps in his playing career. In addition to competing in several international tours, Larry was a member of the USA squads that competed at the Junior World Cup, World Cup Qualifiers and Pan American Games. He served as captain of Team USA at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, the U-21 USMNT and senior USMNT and was a two-time recipient of the USA Field Hockey Athlete of the Year Award in 1994 and 1995.

“Larry always seemed to be the calm in the center of the storm, he made play after play in the midfield with a mixture of power and finesse that defied explanation,” said Steve Jennings, American University Head Coach, Atlanta 1996 Olympian and former USMNT athlete. “He possessed great skill under pressure and was able to connect the lines through deft passing regardless of the opponent. Larry’s impact on the senior team was immediate and he became a fixture and force throughout his career on both the club and international level. Those of us who traveled the world with him, lived in residency programs and competed on [field] hockey’s biggest stage together will miss his easy laugh, love of life and gentle spirit. It is a huge loss for the field hockey community but all of us who had the honor of playing with Larry will always carry his light with us. On behalf of all of his former teammates, we extend our deepest condolences to his family.” 

“There was one word we always used to describe Larry, ‘chill,’” added Tracey Fuchs, Northwestern University Head Coach, former USWNT athlete and two-time Olympian. “He was so smooth on the field, a truly amazing player. For years together on the National Team, we picked each other’s brain nonstop when the men and women had tournaments together, talking hockey for hours. He was the most amazing guy and such a loyal friend.”

“I have fond memories of Larry from the U.S. Men’s National Team,” noted Steve Danielson, Stanford University Assistant Coach and Atlanta 1996 Olympian. “We grew up together on the Junior USMNT, living and training together in Colorado at the Olympic Training Center in high school. My earliest memories of Larry were of us training, traveling and touring. We would bring our skateboards on tour as juniors to explore the cities. Larry was adventurous, fun and eager to see what was around the next corner. From the junior team to the Olympic Games, USA Field Hockey raised some of us. Larry and many other men in field hockey had the opportunity of a lifetime as young men. I feel fortunate to have shared so many of those days with Larry and the other men of that time. Larry will be missed. He was inquisitive, introspective and had a light-hearted nature about him. I appreciated that he always had a smile. Warm and open, Larry was liked by all. For most of his life, he lived his life in field hockey. Thank you, Larry for sharing in those memories and amazing experience we had together.” 

After the playing side of his career, Larry served in the United States Army for six years and was deployed on two overseas tours. He earned the rank of staff sergeant in infantry and received two Army Commendation and Army Achievement medals. 

“One of the greatest parts about our sport, any sport, is the friendships you develop in a shared love of the game,” said Chip Rogers, USA Field Hockey’s Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, At-Large Director and Miami University Assistant Coach.” Larry developed those friendships with people across the country and across the globe. I am fortunate to have been one of those people with whom he shared one of his many laughs and smiles. He had a deep and vibrant passion for the sport and he shared that with everyone. I enjoyed our conversations, whether I was umpiring his games, coaching our teams together or just watching games as fans. His lifelong gift of himself to the country, as an Olympian, as a member of our armed forces and as a coach is a treasure to the sport that will not be forgotten by the multitudes of people he impacted.”

Following his military service, Larry returned to the game he loved and provided the same passion to the coaching staff and team at Kent State University, where he served as assistant coach from 2009 to 2018. Larry helped guide the Golden Flashes to more than 100 victories and four Mid-American Conference (MAC) championships. While leading on the sideline, Larry also completed his bachelor’s degree in 2013.

“I struggle to find the words, that was always Larry’s job,” said Heather Schnepf, Bucknell University Assistant Coach and former Kent State Assistant Coach. “I was the hammer and he was the calming force. He always knew what to say, when to say it and how to say it. I will never forget his unwavering love, his cheeky smile, his laugh, his calmness and most importantly, his impact on the student-athletes. Larry made me a better person. The nine years at Kent with him were truly the best years of my life. Larry’s last message to the Kent State team before moving on to his new job was, ‘keep on, keeping on.’ For all of those lives Larry has touched, this is what he would want for us to do."

In February 2019, Larry brought his coaching expertise back to USA Field Hockey as the USWNT assistant coach, where he helped the team throughout the inaugural season of the FIH Hockey Pro League. It was a position he held dear, often saying it was an honor to be a mentor to some of the highest performing athletes in the United States. More recently, he transitioned to the position of U.S. National Teams Manager where he worked with both the USWNT and USMNT.

“Larry’s impact on the field hockey community will live on forever,” said Bree Gillespie, USA Field Hockey’s Chair of Board and At-Large Director. “He has played and grown the sport at all levels. Larry has truly advanced the game for all that have had the opportunity to know him, play with him and be coached by him.”

“Larry Amar was a truly incredible man who touched so many lives as a player, coach, friend and colleague,” said Pam Stuper, U.S. Field Hockey Foundation Representative and Caroline Ruth Thompson ’02 Head Coach of Field Hockey at Yale University. “Larry’s love and support of his family, friends, teams and country never wavered. He left a legacy of integrity, compassion, courage and sacrifice that has enriched and inspired not just our field hockey community, but all who knew him.” 

Thank you, Larry, for all that you contributed to the sport as a respected athlete, coach and enthusiast of the game. You will be dearly missed by us all.