BALTIMORE, Nov. 15, 2012 — Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse, has named Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) director of development and National Hall of Famer Tom Hayes its 2012 Person of the Year.
Hayes has long championed the worldwide growth of the sport, having served the FIL and its predecessor, the International Lacrosse Federation (ILF), in various leadership capacities since the ILF’s 1974 inception. But he achieved perhaps his biggest accomplishment on behalf of lacrosse in 2012, directing efforts that successfully resulted in the sport’s admission into SportAccord, a prerequisite for Olympic status. SportAccord is an umbrella association of Olympic, non-Olympic and international sports federations, for which members must have 40 members to qualify. The FIL has recently grown to 45 member nations, thanks in large part to Hayes’ work.
“It’s been my baby, so to speak, seeing it grow from a little meeting in 1974 to where it is today,” Hayes told Lacrosse Magazine’s Matt Forman for the December issue. “My most satisfying moment was at the world games in Manchester in 2010, sitting in the stands watching 30 countries come in with their flags during the opening ceremonies. I really welled up.”
US Lacrosse, which provides resources to FIL development efforts, will host the 2014 FIL Men’s World Championships in Denver and expects approximately 40 countries to field teams.
“If you want to start lacrosse in a new country, you pick up sticks, find athletes and watch the joy of our sport take over,” said Matt DaSilva, editor of Lacrosse Magazine. “But if you want to organize lacrosse in that country in a meaningful way, you call Tom Hayes. He is the galvanizing force for the global lacrosse community. Getting us a seat with SportAccord was huge. He did it.”
Hayes was an All-American midfielder at Penn State before beginning a coaching career that lasted more than 30 years at Drexel (1969-74) and Rutgers (1975-2000). Hayes coached 58 All-Americans and took the Scarlet Knights to the NCAA tournament five times, and he earned the sport’s highest honor with his 1990 induction into the National Hall of Fame.
But his role as in helping to select a U.S. team to play in the Australian Lacrosse Association’s centennial lacrosse celebration in 1974 laid the foundation for a lifetime of work to grow the game across the globe. Together with delegates representing Australia, Canada and England, Hayes helped conceive the ILF and served as its first vice president. He served an eight-year term as president beginning in 1994 and, in 2008, helped the association merge with the International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Associations (IFWLA) to form the FIL — satisfying an Olympic requirement that a sport be led by a unified international governing body.
“[SportAccord admission] may be the biggest story in lacrosse in 2012,” said Steve Stenersen, president and CEO of US Lacrosse.
Hayes has his eye on another Olympic prerequisite: the FIL’s membership in the International World Games Association. An application is in progress.
US Lacrosse initiated Lacrosse Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2007, and it is an honor reserved for the person who has had a tremendous positive influence on the sport and transcended all levels of the game. Previous winners include Duke University men’s coach John Danowski (2007), Northwestern University women’s coach Kelly Amonte Hiller (2008), University of Denver men’s coach Bill Tierney (2009), Long Island Lizards player Tim Goettelmann (2010) and University of Michigan men’s coach John Paul. A complete 2012 year in review, including the cover feature on Hayes, appears in the December issue of Lacrosse Magazine.
For more on Hayes, visit LaxMagazine.com for a column by Matt Forman and a photo gallery.
About US Lacrosse
US Lacrosse, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is the national governing body of men’s and women’s lacrosse and the home of the nation’s fastest-growing sport. US Lacrosse has more than 400,000 members in 64 regional chapters across the country. Through responsive and effective leadership, US Lacrosse provides programs and services to inspire participation while protecting the integrity of the sport. Bookmark, like and follow US Lacrosse at uslacrosse.org, fb.com/uslacrosse and @uslacrosse, respectively.