Don Aiello, president of the NorCal Chapter of US Lacrosse, has been selected as this year’s winner of the US Lacrosse Homer R. Schwartz Chapter Leadership Award. Aiello was nominated for the award by the members of the NorCal Chapter’s board of directors.

Created in 2014 to recognize a US Lacrosse chapter leader who embodies the qualities of passion and dedication that Homer provided as a longtime US Lacrosse chapter volunteer, Aiello is the third honoree to receive the award. He will be presented with the award in January at the 2017 US Lacrosse Convention in Baltimore.

Aiello’s impact on the growth of Northern California lacrosse has been significant. He has invested countless hours to improve the quality of the game and the organizations that support it. Aiello has been a founder, a leader, and a visionary -- but most of all, a doer.

When Aiello moved to Davis, California in 2003, there were no lacrosse teams for his son to join so Aiello took the initiative to start the Davis Lacrosse Association, which has now grown into one of the strongest programs in Northern California. Aiello served as a coach, a certified official, as a league commissioner, as a board member and eventually, as president of the Northern California Junior Lacrosse Association (NCJLA).

In 2013, Aiello accepted a new challenge as the president of the NorCal Chapter of US Lacrosse. His leadership helped to continue building the local organization into one of US Lacrosse’s strongest chapters. Aiello also serves on US Lacrosse’s national board of directors and is the chair of the organization’s Regional Operations Committee.

Dedication to the responsible development of lacrosse, passionate service for the sport, a spirit of collaboration and a commitment to good sportsmanship are all among the criteria for the award.

“Don Aiello’s impact on the game is unquestionable,” said Ginger Miles, Pacific Regional Manager at US Lacrosse. “It extends far beyond Northern California as he has been a willing resource for numerous leagues and new programs across the country. Don’s selfless dedication to improving and growing the game has made our sport better and more accessible to more people. He’s helped to build a foundation for NorCal lacrosse, made our chapter network stronger and is now helping to make US Lacrosse the best organization it can be. He’s done all this without need for recognition or acclaim; simply for the good of the game. Don Aiello embodies what it means to be a true champion of US Lacrosse.”

Aiello was selected as this year’s winner of the Homer R. Schwartz Award from a strong candidate pool that included 14 nominations from 13 different chapters. The other nominees were:

Clark Bell – Michigan Chapter
Jim Dock – Maine Chapter
Kirk Dodson – Hawaii Chapter
Scott Growney – Philadelphia Chapter
Elaine Knobloch – Potomac Chapter
Bobby Laudig – Oregon Chapter
Kevin McDonald – Eastern Mass Chapter
Michael Morse – Eastern Mass Chapter
Mark Mozier – Chesapeake Chapter
Peter O’Donnell – New Jersey North Chapter
Eric Rudolph – Georgia Chapter
Bob Shillinglaw – Delaware Chapter
Jody Spencer – Wisconsin Chapter

Homer Schwartz served as president of the Potomac Chapter of US Lacrosse for 14 years and passed away in 2012. Due in large measure to his enthusiastic leadership, selfless service and contagious love for the game, Potomac’s membership grew from 1,200 to 10,000 during his tenure.