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By Paul Ohanian
US Lacrosse has named Jacquelin ‘Jackie’ Pitts and Mat Levine as its inaugural recipients of the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Awards, recognizing outstanding career contributions and impact to the sport of lacrosse. Both winners were officially honored last Friday evening at the 2015 US Lacrosse Convention in Baltimore.
Pitts, who lives in Hockessin, Delaware, has a lifetime of experience that spans the entire spectrum of the sport: player, coach, educator, camp director, administrator and international pioneer for women's lacrosse. A 1959 graduate of St. Lawrence (N.Y.) University, Pitts played club lacrosse for the Philadelphia Bandits and the Philadelphia Women's Lacrosse Association. She was a member of the U.S. Women’s Team and U.S. Reserve Team from 1964-74.
Following the conclusion of her playing career, Pitts served as the head coach of the U.S. women’s squad from 1979-87, winning the first World Cup in 1982. She is a past president and vice-president of the United States Women's Lacrosse Association (USWLA) and the International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations (IFWLA). She was inducted to both the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame in 1983, and is an honorary member of the USWLA, the former IFWLA, and the Philadelphia Women's Lacrosse Association. She has been largely responsible for the growth of women's lacrosse in both Japan and Czechoslovakia.
Levine, who lives in New York City, is founder and CEO of both the NYC Docs Youth Lacrosse organization and CityLax, Inc. Both organizations are dedicated to growing the game among all participants, regardless of ability. NYC Docs is the oldest and largest continuously operated youth lacrosse program in the five boroughs of New York City, and has served over 8,000 boys and girls since its inception in 1996.
CityLax, created in 2005, seeks to grow the game through a public-private partnership with the public school system and through alliances with community-based organizations. CityLax engages over 1,200 boys and girls annually through its varsity and junior varsity teams now represented in 44 high schools throughout all the boroughs. A 1974 graduate of Williams (Mass.) College, Levine has twice previously been honored as the Man of the Year by US Lacrosse’s Long Island Metro Chapter, and was recognized as US Lacrosse’s National Administrator of the Year in 2008. He has also been actively involved in US Lacrosse diversity initiatives and inclusion efforts for almost 10 years.
“Jackie and Mat are both well-known and highly-respected throughout the lacrosse community for their extraordinary contributions to our sport,” said Steve Stenersen, president and CEO of US Lacrosse. "The common bond they share is their selfless dedication to expanding the sport, and it's both a pleasure and an honor for US Lacrosse to recognize them as the inaugural winners of the Lifetime Achievement Awards.”
Primary criteria for Lifetime Achievement consideration include the following:
The US Lacrosse Men’s and Women’s Game Hall of Fame Subcommittees make the selections for the award, which must also be approved by the organization’s Board of Directors.
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