Salisbury Outlines How to Help Berkman Family After Devastating House Fire


Jim Berkman led Salisbury to the Division III men's national championship in May.

Salisbury University issued a public statement Tuesday evening regarding the devastating fire that destroyed the home of Hall of Fame men’s lacrosse coach Jim Berkman.

Nobody was home at the time of Sunday morning’s blaze, which officials estimate caused losses of around $250,000, but three family pets — two cats and one dog — perished in the fire.

The statement noted the family’s appreciation for the kindness already provided by many in the local and national communities.

“The Berkman family is grateful for the outpouring of support they have received from SU students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as those from the greater Salisbury area, and national lacrosse and university athletics communities. Many have asked how they can help. The family has let us know that gift cards from local restaurants — especially those known for good salads — would be useful, as they will be without a kitchen for the foreseeable future.”

The statement outlined the best ways to send support to the Berkmans.

“Gift cards and notes of encouragement may be dropped off at the SU Alumni House, 1120 Camden Ave., from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Those from outside the area may send cards and notes to: Berkman Family, c/o Salisbury University Alumni Engagement Office, 1120 Camden Ave., Salisbury, MD 21801.”

The University’s statement also said that those who wish to honor the Berkmans with a philanthropic gift may do so by supporting the men’s lacrosse program.

Maryland State Fire Marshals said that the house fire started in the living room, although an exact cause has yet to be determined, and fire marshals are continuing to investigate the incident. Photos from the scene on Sunday showed massive flames and smoke billowing from the home.

Berkman and his wife, Jennifer, have owned and lived in the home since 2003. The house is located just two blocks from the Salisbury University campus.

The head coach at Salisbury since 1989, Berkman is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA men’s lacrosse history with 620 wins. He is the only coach in NCAA men’s lacrosse history to reach the 500- and 600-win marks in a career.

Berkman led the Sea Gulls to their 13th NCAA Division III national championship in 2023, tying Hobart for the most titles in Division III men’s lacrosse history. In total, he has led the Sea Gulls to 34 straight NCAA tournament appearances since 1989, 29 NCAA Final Fours and 20 NCAA championship games.

Berkman was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2013 and is being inducted into the Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) Hall of Fame later this year. Additionally, he has been recognized as the National Coach of the Year four times (1991, 2008, 2012, 2023).


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