Photo and story courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- There is a picture in the Princeton men's lacrosse office that shows Jesse Hubbard as he shot behind-the-back in a game at Hobart in 1996.
The game was played in a driving rain that turned the field into a total mudbath. In the picture, Hubbard seems to stand above the elements, even while covered in them from helmet to cleats, as a mammoth figure, one who couldn't be slowed by any opponent, whether it be human or nature.
Hubbard will be taking his rightful place alongside the others just like him in his sport, among the truly elite of the elite, when he is inducted into the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame this coming Oct. 20.
Hubbard will be one of eight members of the Class of 2012, an extraordinary group that will see Brian Dougherty, Roy Colsey, Jen Adams, Kelly Amonte Hiller, Tim Nelson, Cindy Timchal and Missy Foote join Hubbard.
"An argument can be made that Jesse is the best shooter our game has ever seen," says his Princeton teammate Jon Hess. "His talents were the backbone of the offense that resulted in three straight national championships while at Princeton."
Hubbard holds the record for goals in a season (53) and career (163) at Princeton. He was a two-time first-team All-America and three-time first-team All-Ivy League selection, as well as the 1995 Ivy Rookie of the Year and 1996 Ivy Player of the Year.
After playing as a midfielder his freshman year, Hubbard moved to attack in his sophomore year, and along with Hess and Chris Massey, he formed a unit that led Princeton to the 1996, 1997 and 1998 NCAA championships. Princeton went 43-2 in those three seasons.
Hubbard - who had more games in his career with three or more goals than he did with fewer than three - scored 33 goals and had 10 assists for 43 points in 11 career NCAA tournament games. He scored the game-winning goal in overtime in the 1996 NCAA final against Virginia.
"Playing with Jesse meant that we as an offense could make passes to him that we knew we couldn't make to anyone else and that defenses weren't used to defending," Hess says. "He added another dimension to our offense with his ability to catch anything that was thrown at him, as well as stretch the defense with his range. As with any great scorer, the ability to catch the ball is of the highest importance, and Jesse is simply among the best there is in receiving a pass. He always paid great attention to his technique, and today serves the games youth by passing on his valuable lessons in the art of catching and shooting the lacrosse ball."
After graduating, Hubbard was part of the U.S. national team that won the 1998 World Championships. He was also a six-time all-star in Major League Lacrosse, and he retired as the all-time leading goal scorer in MLL history.