BALTIMORE — Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse, has named the University at Albany senior attackman and Iroquois Nationals All-World Team member Lyle Thompson its 2014 Person of the Year.

Already one of college lacrosse’s most talented players, Thompson bolstered that status this year while leading the Great Danes to the NCAA quarterfinals and the Iroquois Nationals to their first bronze medal in six appearances in the quadrennial Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship. Perhaps more importantly, he embodied the spirit of the game while representing the Haudenosaunee — natives of North America and originators of the sport now commonly called lacrosse.

“My father (Jerome Thompson Sr.) said, ‘Don’t worry about the number [on your jersey], don’t worry about the name; you’re playing for the Creator,’” Lyle Thompson said. “To do that you have to go out there and play with a positive attitude. That’s what we did this year. That’s kind of the person I am, just growing up — the person my father taught us to be.”

“Lyle Thompson fits the criteria not only because of his on-field exploits, setting the NCAA single-season scoring record at Albany, but also because of what he represents to the lacrosse and Native American communities,” said Matt DaSilva, editor-in-chief of Lacrosse Magazine. “He is a once-in-a-generation player with otherworldly lacrosse talent. This year especially, he embraced that spotlight and gave us cause to celebrate the sport’s origins.”

“He’s definitely deserving of the award,” said Albany coach Scott Marr. “I don’t see anybody else in the game right now who is doing more for the game itself and young kids, promoting the game in a positive way. You talk about a young man who has two children of his own, doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t do drugs; he’s a perfect role model for the game. He’s really taken on a leadership for our program at Albany, but he’s also taken on a leadership role for the game itself, with how he conducts himself with kids across the country, at clinics and the world games this summer. He’s a special person.”

Thompson set or equaled numerous records on his way to earning near-unanimous accolades as the college game’s best player. The USILA honored him as its most outstanding player and attackman and a first-team All-American, and he shared the Tewaaraton Award with his brother, Miles, as the player of the year. Lyle Thompson tallied an NCAA Division I record 128 points while tying the record for assists in a season with 77 (adding 51 goals). His 156 career assists rank first all-time at Albany, and he stands 76 points shy of setting the NCAA Division I mark for career points (currently 354 by Cornell alum Rob Pannell). Behind Thompson, Albany finished 12-6, won the America East Conference championship and knocked off third-seeded Loyola before falling in overtime to eventual runner-up Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament.

At this summer’s FIL World Championship, Thompson finished with 16 goals and seven assists in leading the Iroquois Nationals to the podium for the first time, all while being generous with his time for fans and media in sharing the story of his people and their sport.

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), University of Michigan men’s coach John Paul (2011), Federation of International Lacrosse director of development and National Hall of Famer Tom Hayes (2012), and U.S. women’s team captain and University of Southern California coach Lindsey Munday (2013). A complete 2014 year in review, including the cover feature on Thompson, appears in the December issue of Lacrosse Magazine.

Person of the year

Check out Lacrosse Magazine Person of the Year Lyle Thompson in images.

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