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William N. Ritch

Hall of Fame


Inducted 1972


Syracuse University

Ritch began his lacrosse career as a player for Peekskill Military Academy in 1933, continuing through four years at Syracuse University and three years of club play with the Crescent Athletic Club in Brooklyn. He then began coaching, most notably as head coach at Sewanhaka (N.Y.) High School.

As a player, Bill was a team captain in high school and college, a member of the All-American squad in 1938 and 1940, and played for the North in the first North/South game in 1940. Ritch was head coach of Sewanhaka from 1948-60, and again from 1963-78. His lacrosse teams had a record of 362 wins, 60 losses, and 1 tie. Under Bill's leadership, Sewanhaka went undefeated for eight consecutive seasons (1948-1957). They were Long Island Champions from 1949 to 1959 - eleven consecutive years - and broke the national high school record by winning 91 consecutive games. Bill was named Nassau County coach of the year in 1972 and was the recipient of the Dartmouth Alumni Trophy. He also received the USLCA Secondary School Area Coach of the Year Award. Ninety-two of his former players became All-Americans. 

In 1970 and 1971, Bill coached the Long Island Athletic Club to the U.S. Lacrosse Club Championship, coming up with a cumulative record of 25-3. Bill coached the freshman team at Hofstra University in 1960 and 1961. He also was an assistant coach at Dartmouth from 1979 to 1983. His overall record as a head coach was 396-79-1.

Throughout his career, Bill was active in promoting lacrosse, not only in the secondary schools but also in the community at large. He served as lacrosse chairman of the South Shore Athletic League in Nassau County, as well as the Nassau County Athletic Association and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. He was a member of the executive committee of the USLCA (1956,1957, 1969), served as vice president in 1958 and 1959, and three terms as president (1960-1962). He was a member of the executive board of USILA in 1963 and 1964, and was active with the Long Island Lacrosse Coaches Association from the time that it was organized. He was inducted into the Long Island Metropolitan Hall of Fame in 1986 and also into the Sewanhaka High School Hall of Fame.

Bill was awarded the Governors Trophy in 1970 by Hero's, Inc. for 25 years of service to the game of lacrosse. He conducted numerous clinics and promotional programs, especially on Long Island. He was Chairman of the USLCA Secondary School Committee (1955-1959) and served on the GuideBook Committee (1956 and 1966) and the Equipment Committee (1958 and 1966).