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Alum, lacrosse player killed in Iraq

"He was the best."

In four simple words, assistant men's lacrosse coach Kevin Cassese summed up the life of former teammate and close friend Jimmy Regan, who was killed tragically in Iraq last week.

Regan, who played at Duke from 1999-2002 and was selected to the All-ACC Tournament team during his senior year in 2002, died while serving as a U.S. Army Ranger. His parents were notified Friday, and New York Newsday reported that Regan's aunt was told that he was killed by a roadside bomb outside of Baghdad.

"He was a man of great character," Cassese said. "He did everything he could for his teammates and the betterment of the team."

Cassese played with Regan from 2000 to 2002 and was hosted by Regan during his official visit to Duke as a recruit. The assistant coach spoke to the current team late Friday about Regan's life and contributions to the University.

"What I told them was that he was the ultimate Duke man," Cassese said. "He was always giving of himself."

During Regan's senior year, with the Blue Devils struggling through an up-and-down 8-7 season, the midfielder broke through to lead Duke to the ACC tournament title. In the Blue Devils' 14-13 victory over Virginia in the championship game, Regan scored a career-high four goals and also pitched in with an assist.

"He put the team on his back," Cassese said. "That was an unbelievable memory of him on the lacrosse field."

Off the field, Cassese remembered his friend as a man who was "always looking out for the younger guys" and "just a person of outstanding character."

After graduating from Duke in 2002, Regan had originally planned to attend law school but instead opted to join the Army Rangers.

"For a lot of those men and women's there's a higher calling," Cassese said. "[Regan] felt the need to fight for his country, and he fulfilled that duty to the best of his ability."

A native of Manhasset, N.Y., Regan is the second Duke athlete to die in Iraq. Marine Lt. Matthew Lynch, a native of Jericho, N.Y., who swam and played baseball at Duke, passed away on Oct. 30, 2004.

Before Duke, Regan graduated from Chaminade High School, where he excelled at lacrosse and football and was also a member of the National Honor Society.

The current team is considering ways to commemorate Regan's life, but no decision has been made yet.

"We're all still just thinking about the family and just taking care of things that need to be taken care of off the field," Cassese said.


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