When Kyle Marr was a youngster, he proudly wore his Johns Hopkins lacrosse jersey and shaved his head in a Mohawk -- dying it blue and black -- to support the Blue Jays in the 2005 and 2007 NCAA final four and national championship games.
That type of spirited dedication was not surprising, since the Marr family's roots run deep in the Johns Hopkins lacrosse program.
His father, Scott Marr, was a teammate of Blue Jays head coach Dave Pietramala and helped the program win the 1987 NCAA Division I national championship. Kyle Marr's uncle, Dave Marr, played at Johns Hopkins from 1993-96 and is the Blue Jays' career leader in assists with 134.
Scott Marr eventually became the head coach at the University of Albany, where Kyle Marr watched his father establish one of the top programs in the nation. As a highly recruited high school player, Kyle Marr had some tough decisions to make about where to attend college.
In the end, he decided to become another member of the Marr family to leave his mark on the Johns Hopkins' program -- a decision his father fully supported. Kyle Marr, a sophomore, finished the 2017 regular season with 24 goals and 17 assists for a team-high 41 points.
"Not only were my wife, Traci, and I proud of Kyle for the choice he made, our entire family has been invested in Hopkins lacrosse for a long time," said Scott Marr, who is also good friends with Johns Hopkins associate head coach Bill Dwan. "With my brother Dave following me, and now Kyle carrying on, the tradition is very gratifying. The fact that Kyle has the opportunity to not only play at Hopkins but to be coached by two of my former teammates and close friends make it that much more special. As one of my closest friends, Coach Pietramala has known Kyle since he was born, so it means more than you can imagine to have Kyle play for him."
The opportunity at Johns Hopkins is not lost on Kyle Marr, who fondly remembers those road trips with his family to Blue Jays games. Kyle Marr was coveted by several Division I programs. His father gave him the flexibility to make his own decision, and there was no pressure to attend Albany.
"It's been a great honor since I committed, to the first game, to now." Kyle Marr said. "It's been an honor to strap on the same jersey as my dad, my uncle and so many other great players who played here before. To continue that tradition within the family has been an unbelievable experience. You just have to cherish every moment of it."
Kyle Marr spent a postgraduate year at the Hill Academy in Ontario, Canada, a powerhouse high school lacrosse program. He finished that season with 35 goals and 20 assists and was named an Under Armour All-American. Hill went 14-1 and won the North American Lacrosse Tournament championship.
Following that stellar season, Kyle Marr set his sights on Johns Hopkins, and the interest was mutual.
"This was always kind of a home away from home," Kyle Marr said. "I had been here with [my father] so many times before on trips. This was somewhere he felt extremely comfortable. If it wasn't going to be Albany, then this was somewhere he could be really proud of me for following in his footsteps."
Throughout the years, the Marr family remained close with Pietramala, and there was definitely a comfort zone between Kyle and the program. It helped Johns Hopkins was poised to be in the hunt for a national championship for the foreseeable future.
Since entering Johns Hopkins, Kyle Marr has maintained a solid relationship with the Blue Jays head coach.
"I knew Petro in more of a family-friend kind of way," Marr said. "... When I stepped on campus for a recruiting trip, we already had a great relationship. He knows what I'm looking for, and I know what he is looking for out of me, so it moved the process a little faster. Coach Petro has been awesome since I've been here. I've enjoyed every moment of it."
Kyle Marr made an immediate impact on the Homewood Campus during his first year. He was one of just two freshmen to play all 15 games, finishing with 13 goals and three assists. He was tied for sixth on the team in goals, ranked seventh in points (16) and tied for second in extra-man goals (five).
Kyle Marr was also willing to listen to advice from his coaches and fellow players, such as Ryan Brown, a Calvert Hall alum who was one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the Johns Hopkins program. Kyle Marr also speaks routinely with his father about the ups and downs as a college lacrosse player.
"We definitely talk a good amount during the week," Kyle Marr said. "We talk more about the mental approach of how we are playing the game. If I had a good week or a bad week, we talk about keeping that even approach and that positive mindset. You have to keep that head up if you haven't had a few shots. And keep that [attitude] even if you had a few goals. He just helps me more with that mental approach to that game."
Scott Marr is busy running his own program, especially during the regular season. Nonetheless, he tries to keep close tabs on Kyle. Technology has helped that process.
"The hardest part of all this for sure is the fact that I don't get to see him play live very often," Scott Marr said. "I have seen three games live in two years; my wife, Traci, gets to see quite a few. Fortunately, with the growth of the game with TV and internet, I am able to watch all of his games after the fact. I do communicate with him often, and we have solid conversations ... regarding his play. He is very receptive to constructive criticism and always looking to improve himself to help his team play well."
Kyle Marr is already leaving his mark on the Hopkins program. His role as a student-athlete has been buoyed by the support of his family. They've been behind him throughout the experience.
"Honestly, it had been Kyle's dream to play for Hopkins most of his life, as a young kid, coach Petro would write him letters and send him gear to wear," Scott Marr said. "When it came time to choose a school, we were just thrilled that the opportunity presented itself for him to continue his education and play for Hopkins and live out a dream."
Issue 233: May 2017