Trail Blazer: Cody Jamieson, '08
Cody Jamieson, ‘08 is considered by many to be the greatest lacrosse player in the world. He believes much of what he’s accomplished is the result of his two years at Onondaga. “I loved my time here. When I look back on where I started and where I am today, I realize it’s the place where I grew up,” he said.
Jamieson was born and raised in Six Nations in Ontario, Canada where he started playing lacrosse at age three. “I have a brother who’s two years older than me. We started playing at the same time and our father was our coach. I was always trying hard to keep up with my brother.”
At Six Nations the lacrosse player everyone talked about was Sid Smith, who was one year older than Jamieson. In 2005 Smith did something which was previously unthinkable. In a culture where few natives ever went far from the reservation, Smith made the decision to go to college at Onondaga, a four-hour car ride from home. Jamieson would do the same one year later.
“What Cody and Sid really did was open a path for native’s from Canada to go to college in the United States, play lacrosse and earn their degrees,” said Onondaga Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Chuck Wilbur. “They made the journey when it was nearly unheard of. Cody and Sid built the path and opened up a floodgate.”
Jamieson admits the decision to come to Onondaga was about much more than lacrosse. “When I left home my mom was still doing my laundry and waking me up to go to class. I came here and I grew up. I was in charge of myself. I was able to grow here and learn how to do things on my own.”
Jamieson had a lot to learn on the lacrosse field as well, and he found the perfect teacher. “When I got here I realized American field lacrosse was totally different from what I was used to. I was quite a project. Coach Wilbur taught me where to go, when to be there and really taught me the American game. To this day I am very grateful for all of the time he spent with me.”
Judging by the results Jamieson figured out junior college lacrosse quickly. During the 2006 and 2007 seasons the Lazers went undefeated en route to back-to-back national championships. Jamieson was named the Most Valuable Player of both championship games. In his final game in an Onondaga uniform he scored 9 goals.
After earning his degree in Recreational Leadership, Jamieson transferred to Syracuse University and won another title. In the 2009 national championship game Jamieson scored the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat Cornell University 10-9.
Jamieson became a professional lacrosse player in 2010 when the Rochester Nighthawks selected him first overall in the National Lacrosse League draft. The Nighthawks signed him to a 10-year contract, the longest in lacrosse history.
Since joining the Nighthawks Jamieson has led them to three championships and earned two Most Valuable Player awards. He’s also been reunited with fellow Six Nations native, Sid Smith who is his teammate in Rochester. Jamieson and Smith played together on another team during the 2014 summer, leading the Iroquois National squad to a bronze medal in the Federation of International Lacrosse Championships in Denver, CO. They were joined on the team by current Onondaga players Oakley Thomas and Adam Bomberry.
Off the field Jamieson is equally successful. He’s heavily involved with sporting goods manufacturer Under Armour. Jamieson is part of their “Team 22” which designs lacrosse equipment.
Jamieson returned to the Onondaga campus in October 2014 when he was recognized as an Alumni Face honoree for his professional achievements and contributions to the College and the community. “It was an unbelievable honor for me,” said Jamieson. “To be recognized by a place like OCC when it really feels like the College deserves all of the credit is hard to believe.”
Wilbur hears comments like that and says it’s the way Jamieson has always been. “When he was back here for his award he spoke with everyone and interacted with them just like when he was a student-athlete,” said Wilbur. “Whomever he was speaking with he gave his full attention like they were the only person in the room, and everyone loved him for it. Cody Jamieson is the Derek Jeter of lacrosse. He’s very well respected and he wins wherever he is. He does it the right way.”
Despite Onondaga’s six consecutive national titles and eight in the last nine years, Wilbur says it’s the relationships with his players which mean the most to him and his coaching staff. “We do it for the student-athletes. They come here needing various levels of guidance. We give it to them at very critical points in their lives. That’s what we are truly here to do. This College and this program can open up a lot of opportunities for our student-athletes when they do it the right way.”