April 18, 2014
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The Patriot League announces that beginning with the 2014 spring championship, the Men's Lacrosse Coach of the Year Award will be named in honor of the late William Lawson.
"This is a fitting tribute to a man who was a great ambassador not only to Lafayette College and the Patriot League, but the entire lacrosse community," said Patriot League Executive Director Carolyn Schlie Femovich. "Bill Lawson was the recipient of the first Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Coach of the Year Award in 1991 and possessed the values, characteristics, and traits of a successful coach on and off of the field."
Lawson was a mentor, educator, and coach at Lafayette College for 37 years and coached swimming & diving and tennis in addition to serving as the head men's lacrosse coach for the Leopards for 31 seasons (1972-2002).
"Bill Lawson was a stalwart member of the lacrosse community for nearly four decades coaching and mentoring hundreds of young men to first and foremost to be better people and then to be better lacrosse players," said Lafayette College Director of Athletics Bruce McCutcheon. "It is most fitting that the Patriot League lacrosse coaches recognized Bill's immense impact on the lives of the young men who played the game by recommending that the Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Coach of the Year trophy be named in his honor."
A 1959 graduate of Springfield College, Lawson joined the Lafayette coaching staff in 1965 as both the swimming and tennis head coach before assuming the men's lacrosse post in 1972. Lawson was named the 1991 Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Coach of the Year and retired as the winningest men's lacrosse coach in Lafayette's history.
The Wilmington, Del. native assisted at the U.S. National Team tryouts in 2001 and coached in the annual North-South All-Star lacrosse game on two occasions.
Lawson's lifetime of contributions to lacrosse have not gone unnoticed, as he was selected as the recipient of the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association's "Howdy Myers Man of the Year Award" in 2000. The annual award is presented by the USILA to the person who has contributed to the game of lacrosse in a capacity over and above the normal efforts and has shown unselfish and undying devotion. He was inducted in to the Pennsylvania Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2002.
After his retirement, Lawson served as a volunteer coach at both Lafayette and Lehigh and was driving home from working a lacrosse camp at Army when he died in an automobile accident on July 13, 2013. The 2014 Leopards team wore "BL" stickers on the back of their helmets this spring as a tribute to the longtime coach.
"Anyone who was ever in Bill's company left with a smile on their face for having spent the time," said McCutcheon, who is also chairman of the Patriot League Committee for Athletic Administration. "I'm certain that Bill has a humble smile on his face now knowing that his name will be forever linked to the best lacrosse coaches in the Patriot League."