Eugene “Gene” Corrigan, a lifelong contributor to the sport of lacrosse as a player, coach and administrator, died Friday evening in Charlottesville, Va. at the age of 91. In recognition of his long, dedicated and exceptional service to the game, Corrigan was inducted to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1993.

A native of Baltimore, Corrigan was a 1951 graduate of Duke University, where he received honorable mention All-American lacrosse honors in 1950 and 1951. He was also selected as Duke's Most Valuable Player in 1951 and played in that year’s North/South Collegiate All-Star Game. 

Following college, Corrigan became the head lacrosse coach at St. Paul's School in Baltimore from 1952-55. Later, he served as the head lacrosse coach at Washington & Lee College from 1955-58, and the University of Virginia from 1958-67. During his tenure, he arranged the first trip ever of a U.S. lacrosse team to Australia in 1959. Corrigan also arranged visits of English and Australian teams to the U.S. in 1961 and 1962. 

Corrigan moved into college athletics administration in 1969 as the athletics director at Washington & Lee, and later held the same position at Virginia (1971-81) and Notre Dame (1981-87). 

"I can tell you that I was intimidated the first time Coach Corrigan walked into my office," said Dom Starsia, the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame coach who spent 24 seasons in Charlottesville. "He is an icon in our world. It did not take long, however, before his genuine, down-home and friendly manner put me at ease and sowed the seed for our relationship." 

Following his time at Notre Dame, Corrigan accepted the position of commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, where he engineered the league’s expansion with the addition of Florida State University. He served in that role for eight years (1987-95) before capping his professional career as president of the NCAA from 1995-97. 

Bill Tanton, longtime columnist for US Lacrosse Magazine and The Baltimore Evening Sun, grew up in the same Baltimore neighborhood with Corrigan and was a lifelong friend.

“Wherever Gene went in his life he was a true star,” Tanton said. “Athletic director at Washington & Lee and then lacrosse coach and A.D. at Virginia, and on to Notre Dame. To us in lacrosse, that was heady stuff, to run Notre Dame athletics. He even spent a term as president of the NCAA. Gene held all those important jobs because he was the right man for all of them. He was smart, of course, and he loved sports, and he had the right personality - he was upbeat and positive, he was enormously likeable and people from coast-to-coast were quick to say he was a great guy.”

In addition to his selection to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Corrigan was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, the IMLCA Hall of Fame in 2018, and the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2019. He was also awarded the 2006 Marvin “Skeeter” Francis Award, presented in recognition of notable service to the media in their coverage of ACC sports.

Corrigan is survived by his wife of 66 years, Lena, their seven children, 19 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
 

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