April 18, 2014

By Jeff White (jwhite@virginia.edu)

CHARLOTTESVILLE — First there was Billy, then Danny and finally Pat: brothers who as UVa men’s lacrosse players each earned an NCAA championship ring.

Billy Glading got his in 2003. Danny Glading collected his in 2006, and Pat Glading followed suit in 2011, when the Cavaliers were crowned NCAA champions for the fourth time in Dom Starsia’s tenure as their head coach.

“Special,” Danny called it.

Pat said: “It’s a nice little bond we can share the rest of our lives.”

The youngest Glading brother could pick up a second ring before leaving the University. Pat is a senior midfielder on the UVa team that plays its regular-season home finale Saturday.

At 1 p.m., Virginia (8-5) hosts Bellarmine (6-4) at Klöckner Stadium. In a Senior Day ceremony before the game, UVa will recognize student-manager Charles Bilello and 12 players: Glading, Mark Cockerton, Rob Emery, Pat Harbeson, Bobby Hill, Scott McWilliams, Frank Price, Matt Robertson, Owen Van Arsdale, Chris LaPierre, Joseph Lisicky and Blake Riley.

“I’m excited for Pat,” Danny Glading said. “He’s really done a great job his four years there, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Billy and Danny will be there Saturday, too, for an occasion that all but closes a memorable era in Starsia’s program.

“It’ll be sad that it’s over,” Billy said. “Obviously I enjoyed playing there, but I really enjoyed going down and watching Danny play and going down and watching Pat play and having my younger brothers go through everything I did. It’s something special.”

Pat said: “It’s gone by so fast. I still remember going down to watch Billy’s games when he was a freshman.”

Many other sets of siblings have played lacrosse at UVa, including, perhaps most notably, the Gills. Like the Gladings, each of the Gill brothers received an NCAA championship ring: Conor in 1999, Brendan in 2003 and Gavin in 2006.

For 11 consecutive seasons, Starsia had at least one Gill in his program. He’s had a Glading for 12 seasons in all: Billy from 2000 to ’03, Danny from 2006 to ’09, Pat from 2011 to ’14.

Starsia has been delighted to coach them.

“They’ve all been great students,” he said. “They’ve been responsible citizens, the nicest people. It’s been such a great thing to get to know the family and all the boys.”

Bill and Cissy Glading, who live in Bethesda, Md., have five children: four sons and a daughter. Sarah is 14 years older than Pat, the youngest. Billy is 10 years older, Matt seven years older and Danny five years older than Pat.

Sarah is a Boston College alumna. Matt, who was a standout lacrosse player at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., earned his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University and recently finished medical school there.

“He’s the brains of the family, as we always say,” Pat said, smiling.

Billy also attended Gonzaga, where he starred in basketball as well as lacrosse. (He joined the UVa hoops team as a fifth-year senior and earned a letter in 2003-04.)

On the lacrosse field, the 6-2 Billy became a force as a defensive midfielder late in his career. In 2003, he was named MVP of the ACC tournament and later was selected to the All-America third team.

His cheering section at many games included his youngest brother.

“I remember as a young kid coming to UVa to watch him play lacrosse,” Pat said.

Danny, who starred at Georgetown Prep, also had an illustrious career at UVa. A four-year starter on attack, he was a three-time All-American. He’s tied for sixth in career points (223) at Virginia with Conor Gill, and tied for sixth in career assists (104) with Mike Caravana. Danny, who like Billy is 6-2, ranks ninth in program history with 119 career goals.

“I probably came down to visit Charlottesville more when Billy was playing, because I was younger and I would just go along with my parents,” Pat recalled. “When Danny was playing, I was in high school. I would have games on the weekends, so I didn’t get to visit as much.”

Still, Pat said, on his infrequent trips to Charlottesville, he hung around Danny’s friends and gained an appreciation of University life. Not surprisingly, UVa became Pat’s dream school.

“It always seemed like a second home, almost,” he said, “because I would always visit my brothers, and I knew that they had great experiences here and they loved it so much. I knew if I came here I’d have the same experience.”

Like Danny, Pat attended Georgetown Prep, where he was a standout in football and lacrosse. And when Starsia offered him a spot in UVa’s program, Pat decided to follow his brothers to Charlottesville.

Coming out of high school, Pat wasn’t as highly regarded as Billy and Danny had been, and it was uncertain if he’d be able to play at the highest level of Division I lacrosse.

Even so, Starsia recalled, “I had no misgivings about Pat Glading coming here. I never had a moment’s thought that this was going to be problematic. The Gladings are just so well-centered. It wasn’t going to turn into some kind of conflict.”

At 5-11, Pat is shorter than Billy and Danny, and “he never quite blossomed athletically [at UVa],” Starsia said.

Pat has appeared in 11 games as a Cavalier. He’s scored one goal.

“Honestly, I was nervous coming in,” he said. “And I think when I came here, I really didn’t realize how hard it was going to be, in terms of how good everyone else was. With my brothers being such outstanding players, there might have been a sense that I would be the same way a little bit, but I think everything’s worked out for the best, and I’ve had a great experience.”

More important to Pat than playing time was attending a school that offered what he wanted academically and socially.

“You worry about [the lacrosse component] as an older brother, I think,” said Billy, who lives in Baltimore. “But Pat’s a strong kid and Pat’s a good kid, and he’s a good teammate, so I knew that whatever transpired down there once he got down there, he was going to make the most of it.

“At the same time, I saw No. 1 recruits in high school come into Virginia when I was there, and they never played, and I saw the kid nobody knew about it come in and blow everybody away.”

Danny, who lives in D.C., was confident Pat would take advantage of all UVa had to offer.

“I knew Pat would love it, and I was confident he’d be able to add value to the [lacrosse] program in more ways than just playing, and I think he has,” Danny said.

Off the field, Pat has volunteered with several organizations, including Athletes Committed to Community and Education (ACE), and the Student Athlete Mentor program (SAM).

On the field, as “an older guy, I try to be a leader to the younger guys,” Pat said. “And as a guy who doesn’t get as much playing time as some of my classmates, I think it’s important for me to show the younger guys that being a part of this team is so worth it, and there’s so many ways to be happy and contribute each day in practice.

“When you think about it, only 10 people are on the field at the same time. Not everyone’s going to be the star of the team, and I think it’s important to show the younger guys that this experience is worth it, no matter what, and each day you’re contributing as much as the next guy, and we’re all fighting for the goal to be standing there on Memorial Day weekend.”

Reserves with such attitudes “help keep things centered,” Starsia said. “When they’re working hard, it’s hard for the starters not to be working hard.”

Pat’s lacrosse career figures to end sometime next month, perhaps at the NCAA Final Four in Baltimore. Then he’ll join Billy and Danny in the working world. In early June, he starts an internship with the Cushman & Wakefield real estate firm in D.C

The brothers’ parents? Their lives are about to change, too. For 12 of the past 15 lacrosse seasons, Bill and Cissy Glading have been making regular trips to see UVa games.

“I’m not sure what they’re going to do with their weekends,” Billy said, laughing.

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