Thanksgiving is the time of year that we typically give thanks and count our blessings. For the past 12 years the IWLCA has been blessed to have Gothard Lane at the helm of our association as we transitioned from a small coaches’ organization into one of the leading players in the collegiate sports landscape. Many of the strides the IWLCA has made over the past decade were made possible by Gothard’s efforts to solidify the association’s financial foundation and nurture the sport’s growth. Thank you Gothard.
While Gothard’s work for the IWLCA was varied and touched numerous parts of the coach’s life (tournament video, film exchange, NCAA rules, Championships, post-season awards, etc), what he DID is less important than who he IS. I don’t claim to speak for the entire IWLCA membership, but I can tell you that one thing most coaches are grateful for is the support, friendship, and mentorship that Gothard offered us, and likely still will, after he officially retires at the end of the year. Thank you Gothard.
Last week at the IWLCA Meetings, I heard many coaches talk about Gothard and the relationship they have with him. From asking about their families, to sharing stories about common acquaintances, to offering advice on how to handle specific coaching challenges, Gothard is always there for the coaches. We may only see him a few times each year, but we all know he is only an email or phone call away. It didn’t matter if you coached a top-five Division I team, or were at a brand-new Division III program, Gothard made time for you. Whether you were someone Gothard saw at every event year after year, or this was your first event as a collegiate coach, he was willing to listen and offer his support and insight. Thank you Gothard.
Many collegiate women’s lacrosse coaches probably don’t realize all the ways that Gothard’s work positively impacted their ability to do their jobs… and that’s probably the way Gothard wants it. Twelve years may not be much in the span of Gothard’s life, but in the life of the IWLCA, it’s been nearly the last third of its existence. The number of coaches that have felt Gothard’s impact is far too numerous to count, and when you consider how many future coaches’ careers will be touched by Gothard, without ever even knowing him, the number becomes staggering. Thank you Gothard.
If you talk to coaches of other collegiate sports similar to lacrosse, it becomes much easier to see how far the IWLCA has come under Gothard’s stewardship. He encouraged our association to strive for a higher level of professionalism, see the value of our own brand, and take control of our financial future. Due to his efforts, the IWLCA has become one of the most highly regarded and well-respected coaches’ associations in collegiate sport. Our reputation now precedes us, and deservedly so. Thank you Gothard.
Like many in our profession, I was able to say my goodbyes to Gothard last week at the Meeting and the tournament. It was very powerful to see the emotion on the faces of so many coaches as we celebrated his career with the IWLCA. His steady presence and quirky humor will certainly be missed. And as I spend the next few weeks doing my job – waiting for the tournament video to post, and for Hudl to get the 2020 Open Video Exchange set up – I’ll sit there and think to myself, “Thank you Gothard.”