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FCA Lacrosse honors hall of famer Tom Hayes with Peter Kohn award

The ministry's top lacrosse award was presented last Saturday at the annual US Lacrosse National Convention.

Published on January 26, 2018


The lacrosse ministry in FCA honored Tom Hayes, the Olympic vision director of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL), with the 2018 Peter Kohn Award.

Hayes was presented the award last Saturday at the US Lacrosse National Convention in Baltimore. For the past 29 years, FCA Lacrosse has had a presence at the convention. This year, FCA hosted a free fellowship lunch.

“I knew Peter Kohn from 1978 till he passed away,” Hayes said after being told about the honor. “Peter was one of those unforgettable persons that could be counted on to complete any task given to him. He was a fixture at our early USA teams as a volunteer equipment manager and staff assistant. He helped at all of our team tryouts and was a key member of the 1978, 1982 and 1986 team USA support staffs. 

“He always had a smile on his face and was a true gentleman. I counted on Peter to do the many jobs that came up during the course of an international tournament, including wake-up calls for the players and staff. His announcement every morning of, ‘It’s time to win the world championship!’ definitely underscored the reason we were representing the USA lacrosse community.”

Peter Kohn award
Tom Hayes receives the Peter Kohn Award from Ryan Horanburg, FCA Lacrosse's director.
The Peter Kohn Award is named for one of the most beloved and unique figures in lacrosse.

For 50 years, Kohn was connected to the sport. The subject of a recent documentary chronicling his life, Kohn started as a field manager for Park School in Baltimore in 1954. His role as team manager continued with the US national team from 1978-1998, the North-South All-Star game for 25-plus years, club teams in the US Club Lacrosse Association for more than 20 years, Middlebury College from 1981-2003 and numerous other lacrosse events. The field at Middlebury is named in his honor, and he was previously inducted into the US Lacrosse New England Hall of Fame.

Kohn served as a volunteer with FCA Lacrosse from 1988 until his death in 2009. He was, and still is, one of the most recognized figures in lacrosse.

Each year, the Peter Kohn Award, established in 1998, is given to a member of the lacrosse community who best represents the scripture, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13) and exemplifies the Christian principles of character, integrity, excellence and teamwork on and off the lacrosse field.

“We are thrilled to honor a great man who has done and continues to do so much for the sport of lacrosse,” Ryan Horanburg, FCA Lacrosse’s director, said of Hayes. “Tom has had generational impact on this sport we all love, impacting players at the youth, high school, college and international levels. We congratulate Coach Hayes for not only his many accomplishments on the field, but also for the ways in which he touched the lives of so many through the sport of lacrosse.”

Hayes, as the Olympic vision director for FIL, chairs the Olympic vision committee, which has the responsibility to progress the inclusion of lacrosse within the Olympic Games program.

A resident of Carbondale, Pa., Hayes, a 1989 US Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee, led Sewanhaka High to consecutive championships in 1956, 1957 and 1958 as a midfielder and earned first-team All-County honors in his senior season. At Penn State, he earned All-American honors twice and led the Nittany Lions to the conference championship in 1962.

Hayes began his coaching career at Penn State as the freshmen team’s coach in 1967 and became the assistant varsity coach in 1968. He moved to Drexel, serving as head coach from 1969-1974. His teams made two USILA Tournament appearances, and he produced three All-Americans. After Drexel, Hayes became the head coach at Rutgers and remained in that capacity from 1975-2000. His teams were ranked in the Top 20 from 1975 to 1998. Rutgers made five NCAA Tournament appearances during his tenure and produced 57 All-Americans. His overall coaching record was 243-162 in 32 seasons.

Hayes has also been involved with ILF throughout his career. He served as the organization’s president from 1994-2002, vice-president from 1974-1978, secretary-treasurer from 1978-1982 and general delegate from 1974-1994. He has been the marketing committee chair since 2001, and the development committee chair since 2003. In recognition for his contributions to international lacrosse, the ILF’s U-19 championship trophy is named in his honor.

Hayes was on the US Lacrosse Foundation board of directors from 1985-1987 and was president of the US Lacrosse Coaches Association from 1990-1994. He was USILA rules committee chairman from 1975-1979 and USILA international games committee chairman from 1973-1994. He was the general manager of Team USA in 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986 and 1990, as well as a Pre-Olympic tournament committee member in 1984.

Past Peter Kohn Award recipients include:

1998 – Peter Kohn
1999 – Hank Janczyk
2000 – Buddy Beardmore
2001 – Jim Darcangelo       
2002 – Susan Powell
2003 – Bob Scott
2004 – Jerry Schmidt
2005 – Richie Moran
2006 – Jim Grube
2007 – Ed Britton
2008 – Dave Urick
2009 – Richie Meade
2010 – Brad Corrigan
2011 – Dr. Frederick Douglass Opie
2012 – The Colleluori Family
2013 – The Kelly Family
2014 – Steve Stenersen
2015 – Aimee Dixon
2016 – Sgt. James J. Regan and Lead the Way Foundation
2017 – Mike Jolly

Nominations for future award winners can be made by submitting names to FCA Lacrosse at fcalax@gmail.com or by calling (443) 212-8131.