By Michael Lewis
Former Rochester Lancer Terry Lippman, who went on to have a successful career in the music industry by helping to discover artists such as Rob Thomas and Matchbox 20, has passed away after a two-year battle with ALS Lou Gehrig’s disease.
He was 66.
Lippman died peacefully, surrounded by his family and close friends Jan. 8.
A Brighton High School graduate in suburban Rochester, N.Y., Lippman was selected by the Lancers in the 1976 North American Soccer League draft.
An All-American defender at Brighton H.S., Lippman played four years at UCLA and a nominated for player of the year honors by The Sporting News before he was chosen in the third round of the draft. He signed with the team, but never played although he trained with the squad throughout the entire season.
Lippman was involved with one of the most unusual draft scenarios in the history of soccer.
On Jan. 14, 1976, the Lancers chosen Jim Pollihan, Dale Rothe, Terry Lippman and Steve Cacciatore in that order. A week later, the Los Angeles Skyhawks picked that quartet in the same order in the American Soccer League draft: Pollihan, Rothe, Lippman and Cacciatore. Hmmm, coincidence or a plot by then Skyhawks coach Ron Newman?
“I picked Lippman as a local choice,” Newman said of the former Bruins standout.
As for the entire bunch, Newman said, “That’s a compliment to the Lancers. I always draft good ones . . . Let’s face it. They have a better chance to play here.”
When he signed with Rochester May 19, 1976, Lippman realized he wasn’t ready to be thrown into the lineup.
“I’d hate to be thrown into a situation without the experience to develop my skills to handle it,” he was quoted by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
“If you’re thrown in right away, it’s awkward. It could be difficult to survive. The speed of the [NASL] game and the intelligence of the players are the big differences from college. Most of the players in this league are among the best in the world. I think I can eventually work myself into the lineup if I continue to develop.”
According to a recent story in the D&C, family and friends described Lippman as a player “in constant motion, like an antelope deftly running from one side of the field to the other swiftly heading off opposing players who dared venture into his territory. He was also an outstanding basketball player- a sharp shooting left-hander with a quick turnaround move to the basket!”
After the season Lippman returned to UCLA that fall to complete his degree in accounting.
Lippman worked with his brother Michael in scouting and managing musical artists such as Melissa Manchester and George Michael. He retired following the birth of his daughter Madison six years ago.
He was also credited in the music industry as a pioneer identifying engineers and producers and promoting them as artists on par with musicians.
“There are certain people along the way that without them we would be nowhere,” Thomas told the D&C “Terry Lippman was one of the most integral parts of us becoming anything at all. A great and passionate human.”
Lippman is survived by his wife Danielle, his daughter Madison, mother-in-law Norma, brother Michael, sister-in-law Nancy, nephews Nick and Josh as well as other close cousins.
Send any contributions that will directly help Danielle and Madison to the GoFundMe.com page in Terry’s name, which is named: Support Terry Lippman and Family in ALS struggle.
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