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WASHINGTON AND LEE LACROSSE HISTORY

For over half a century Washington and Lee has had a special place in the world of collegiate lacrosse. W&L gained national prominence with several runs at the Division I national championship in the 1970s and has established itself as one of the top Division III programs since moving to that classification in 1987.

The program's roots date to a club team in 1938 and the program gained varsity status in 1947. Winning didn't always come easy during the early years, but Dick Szlasa's 1970 club turned in an 8-3 record that proved to be a sign of things to come.

The 1970's were indeed a special time for W&L lacrosse. In 10 seasons the Generals rolled up a 108-35 record and advanced to the NCAA Division I tournament seven times.

The first trip to the NCAA's came in Szlasa's final season in 1972. The Generals went 12-3 before falling to Johns Hopkins in the tournament.

Jack Emmer took over the reigns and proceeded to lead the Generals into six straight NCAA tournaments. His 1973 team finished the regular season undefeated, including a 15-11 win over archrival Virginia that proved to be the first of five straight wins over the Cavaliers. The Generals then beat Navy 13-12 in overtime in the tournament before falling to eventual national champion Maryland 18-7 in the semifinals.

The 1974 Generals followed the cue of the 1973 team and marched through the season undefeated. The Generals defeated Navy 11-9 in the opening round, but had their dream season ended with an 11-10 loss to eventual national champion Johns Hopkins.

Graduation depleted the 1975 squad and the Generals were just 7-6 with three weeks remaining in the season. W&L closed out the regular season by beating Roanoke, Rutgers and Virginia to qualify for the tournament and then posted perhaps the biggest win in W&L lacrosse history. In the opening round of the tournament the Generals upset No. 1 ranked Johns Hopkins 11-7, ending the Blue Jays 27-game home winning streak. Maryland bounced W&L 15-5 in the semifinals, but it was quite a finish.

Emmer led W&L to the tourney in 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1980, but the Generals were knocked out of tourney in the first round in each of those years.

From 1983 to 1986 W&L posted four straight losing seasons. Prior to the 1987 season, W&L, which had not offered athletic scholarships while competing in Division I, moved to Division III.

The moved paid immediate dividends as Dennis Daly's 1987 squad went 11-4 and beat Roanoke 19-11 in the opening round of the tourney before falling 17-4 to Ohio Wesleyan in the semis.

Following a period of six losing seasons in seven years, Jim Stagnitta ushered in the 1990's with a 9-4 record and W&L is currently enjoying its best run of success since the 1970s. In the last 12 years W&L has won 136 games, six Old Dominion Athletic Conference championships and been invited to the NCAA Division III tournament five times. W&L has been nationally ranked each of those 12 years and finished the 2001 season ranked third in the country.

While the success of W&L's teams has always been at the fore, individual success has been a mainstay of the program as well. W&L players have received All-America recognition a staggering 156 times since 1947. W&L has had four inductees into the National Lacrosse Foundation Hall of Fame. Ted Bauer, '74, a three-time All-American, became W&L's first inductee in 1992. Skeet Chadwick, '74, a two-time All-American goalie and the 1974 Kelley Award winner, was inducted in 1993 and Skip Lichtfuss, '74, a three-time All-American, was inducted in 1994. Tom Keigler '77, a three-time All-American defensemen was inducted in 1999.

 


Contact: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director
PO Drawer 928
Lexington, VA 24450
Phone: 540-463-8670