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April 25, 2002 New athletics director looks forward to challenge





by John Austen

Les Lawton says he’s not looking to be the full-time director of Recreation and Athletics, but a few months down the road he may throw his hat into the ring if asked.

Lawton was named interim director last month when longtime director Harry Zarins resigned.

“Harry wanted to take things in a different direction than the university did,” Lawton said. “He has been great giving me advice and helping me out. He`s a very classy individual.”

Lawton, who is the longtime coach of the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team, says he likes his new job, but when push comes to shove he would find it difficult to do both.

“As everyone knows, I love the coaching, but with all the travelling involved, it would be really hard to do both jobs on a full-time basis,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes. It will be a learning experience for me, and then we’ll see what direction [Concordia] wants to go in.”

Lawton has many different responsibilities in his new job. There are budget and staffing issues coming up and all the team’s schedules have to be made for the 2002-03 season. “We are also replacing our playing fields, and that takes some work and cordination.”

He has an advantage, being a coach and a fixture at the university. “I’m lucky that I know and get along with everyone that I work with,” he said. “Everyone’s been very supportive so far, which makes the transition easier. I will always look out for the athlete first. I feel revitalized already in this job, and look forward to the challange.”

Lawton is considered the dean of women’s hockey coaches in North America. He has coached the Stingers for 20 years and next season will be gunning for his 500th win behind the bench.

The native of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce has guided his team to 13 victories in 15 Quebec championships and has won Concordia’s Theresa Humes Invitational Women’s hockey tournament in each of the last eight years.

He was also the head coach of Team Canada in 1994 when the team defeated the U.S. 6-3 to win the gold medal at the World Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Lawton and his wife Paddy have four children and live in Dorval.