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FCA 2020 Peter Kohn Award given to Roanoke Lacrosse Coach Mary Schwartz

Published on November 22, 2019


FCA Lacrosse ministry honored Mary Schwartz, head women’s lacrosse coach at Roanoke College, with the 2020 Peter Kohn Award. Schwartz was presented with the award at the U.S. Lacrosse National Convention in Philadelphia on Saturday.

“I am so honored to be recognized as someone who exemplifies what this award stands for,” Schwartz said about the honor. “God has given me opportunities to travel the United States and the world sharing the message of Jesus through lacrosse. I believe it all comes down to one word, saying ‘yes.’ This Bible verse has given me the strength to continue to say ‘yes’—Romans 10:14-15: ‘How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”’ I would like to thank FCA Lacrosse and the entire lacrosse community for selecting me to receive the 2020 Peter Kohn Award.”

Added FCA Lacrosse Director Ryan Horanburg, “I couldn’t be more excited to honor an incredible woman of faith. Coach Schwartz truly exemplifies what the Peter Kohn Award is all about. I am honored to have worked with Coach Schwartz in several different capacities during my 11 years as the Director of FCA Lacrosse. Her impact on the lacrosse community through her teams, other woman’s lacrosse coaches, development of youth players and even international growth has been incredible to watch. I am thankful to call Mary a teammate, a friend and sister in Christ, as we work together to impact the lacrosse community for Christ.”

Schwartz is in her 17th year at the helm of the Roanoke women’s lacrosse program. During her time, she has amassed 203 wins and guided the Maroons to the 2007 and the 2009 NCAA tournaments and the 2009 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championship. 

Schwartz began her coaching career in 1989 as an assistant field hockey coach at North Allegheny High School (Pa.). After three years at North Allegheny, Schwartz moved on to Mt. Lebanon High School (Pa.), where she served as the head coach of the girls’ lacrosse team for two years. While in Pennsylvania, Schwartz founded the Pittsburgh Women’s Lacrosse Club in 1991. After that, Schwartz coached at Shady Side Academy (Pa.), where she guided the school’s first four high school All-Americans and earned the Midwest School Girl’s Lacrosse Association Coach of the Year Award (1994).

Schwartz’s accomplishments garnered her a coaching career at the college level. In 1996, she became the head women’s lacrosse coach of Davidson College (N.C.). Schwartz joined Roanoke College’s women’s lacrosse team in the 2005 season as the program’s eighth head coach since the program began in 1978.

Schwartz has served on several NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Committees, including a stint as the chairperson of the NCAA Division I South Region selection committee. She has also served as a Second Vice President of U.S. Lacrosse and as an executive board member with the organization. As of 2016, she is currently serving her second year as a NCAA Division III At Large Representative for the IWLCA Board of Directors. Schwartz also serves as the athletic department’s Senior Women’s Administrator and supervises the Student-Athletic Advisory Committee.


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

Kohn also 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 the game of 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.

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