Athletic Hall of Fame 2016: Dale Lash

Dale Lash’s favorite part of his job was the day-to-day responsibilities of developing strong character in his athletes.

Dale Lash attended Oil City High School in Pennsylvania where he was the captain of the basketball team.  He then attended Springfield College where his team won the New England Championship his senior year.  He graduated from Springfield in 1923 and received his master’s degree from New York University.

Dale Lash came to Williston Academy after 18 years of coaching at Wesleyan University, where he won ten Little Three Championships en-route to a 148-95 record. With a competing offer from Springfield College to coach basketball at his alma mater, he chose to accept the position at Williston because of his interest in mentoring and coaching young people. He was athletic director from 1942 to 1967 and also coached basketball, football, and baseball for 14 seasons from 1942 to 1956. Highlights as Williston coach were the undefeated basketball team of 1945, with outstanding player and 2015 Hall of Fame inductee, Tony Lavelli, and the undefeated football team of 1947.

Lash’s daughter, Marilyn Lash Cluett ’65, accepted his award from Mike Dererus ’16.

But it was always the day-to-day coaching and interaction with players that were his favorite role and responsibility. As he encouraged the development of their skills on the court and playing field, sportsmanship was his utmost priority as a coach and for his players. He groomed them to not only respect the rules of the game but to respect each other and the opposing team.

His support of veterans was personal and professional. He drilled army cadets in physical fitness at Springfield College. Then as veterans of World War II returned home, many found they needed a year of preparation before going to college. They were older than the typical prep school student so many lived off campus when they enrolled at Williston. He and his wife, Helen, had their sons Robert and Richard give up their bedrooms so these veteran students could live in their home.

Beneath his ready smile and gentle demeanor was a commitment to discipline, hard work, and dedication that was reflected in the steady growth of athletic programs at Williston.

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