DANBURY, Conn. - Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Commissioner Dr. Kevin T. McGinniss announced former University of Delaware Director of Athletics Edgar Johnson and former Fordham University Director of Athletics Frank McLaughlin as the recipients of the 2014 James Lynah Award for Distinguished Achievement. Both honorees will be recognized at the 2014 ECAC Honors Dinner on September 28th at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth, Mass.
The James Lynah Distinguished Achievement Award is bestowed annually to former ECAC athletic administrators who have achieved outstanding success in their career and have made an unusual contribution in the interest of intercollegiate athletics, the NCAA and the ECAC. For the purposes of defining the position, an eligible candidate must have been an ECAC director, associate director or assistant director of athletics or senior woman administrator.
McLaughlin led the Fordham Department of Athletics for 27 years before being named Associate Vice President of Student Affairs for Athletic Alumni Relations in 2012. McLaughlin, a 1969 graduate of Fordham, was Athletics Director for 13 years before being promoted to Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation in 1998.
During his tenure at Fordham, McLaughlin oversaw and orchestrated many changes and improvements to Rams athletic facilities. Among those was the renovation of the Bahoshy Softball Field, a new football locker room, a new basketball locker room and renovations to Jack Coffey Field and the Murphy Field complex. Jack Coffey and Murphy Field have both been resurfaced with state of the art FieldTurf. Coffey Field added lights, a baseball press box and a new scoreboard, while Murphy Field, a multi-purpose athletic facility, added tennis courts, a softball field, and soccer, football and recreational fields. Also under McLaughlin, the athletic department constructed the Walsh Training Center, the first varsity-training center at Fordham dedicated exclusively to student-athletes.
In addition to the facility improvements, McLaughlin presided over success both on the field and in the classroom. Over his illustrious career, Fordham won 26 conference championships, including two Patriot League titles and the 2011 Atlantic-10 softball championship. Academically, Fordham was annually amongst the leaders in the number of student-athletes named to the Atlantic-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and also among the national leaders in NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR). Fordham ranked 18th in the country in APR in 2011.
Prior to his time at Fordham, McLaughlin was a successful collegiate basketball coach. He was an assistant coach under Richard “Digger” Phelps at both Fordham and Notre Dame, before being named head coach of Harvard in 1977. McLaughlin coached the Crimson for eight seasons, leading the team to a 15-9 record in his final season.
“It is great to be recognized by your peers,” said McLaughlin. “I consider this a great honor to represent my alma mater, Fordham University, in receiving the James Lynah Award. I have always had respect and admiration for everyone in and around the ECAC.”
Johnson, who spent his entire professional career at Delaware, led the Blue Hens to new heights during his 25-year tenure as the Director of Athletics. He helped direct Delaware from the East Coast Conference to the America East Conference in 1991-92 and then led the Blue Hens to their current home in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in 2001-02.
A staple of Johnson’s tenure was the improvement and success of the Delaware football program. He guided the football team to its first conference affiliation since 1970 when they joined the Yankee Conference in 1986. Delaware then joined the Atlantic-10 Football Conference in 1997, and in 2003 the Blue Hens won the NCAA I-AA Football National Championship. Four years later, after joining the newly formed CAA Football Conference, the Blue Hens finished as the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) runner-up.
As a member of the America East Conference from 1991-2001, Delaware captured ten consecutive Stuart Haskell Commissioner’s Cup Awards signifying athletic excellence based on final league standings in all sports. Over Johnson’s 25-year career, Delaware won 83 regular season conference and tournament titles and appeared in 32 NCAA Championships.
Prior to becoming Director of Athletics, Johnson served in numerous roles inside the department. Joining the department in 1969 as an assistant athletic trainer and assistant men’s swimming coach, Johnson would also work as head coach of the men’s cross country team and as an assistant track coach.
The University of Delaware continues to present the Edgar Johnson Award to a male senior letter-winner who has exhibited the qualities of hard work, dedication, leadership, fairness, and striving for excellence. Johnson was inducted into the University of Delaware Wall of Fame in 2011.
"I am thrilled and honored to be recognized by my peers and the ECAC for the James Lynah Distinguished Service Award.” said Johnson. “I must also recognize the outstanding administrators, coaches and student-athletes with whom I worked. For without their support, contributions and encouragement nothing would have been possible or accomplished.”