by John Austen
Working 12-hour days, often seven days a week, doesn't bother Les Lawton.
In fact, he thrives on it.
Concordia's interim director of recreation and athletics stepped in last
year when Harry Zarins left. Hes also in his 21st year of coaching
the women's hockey team at Concordia. His .700 winning percentage makes
him the winningest coach in the history of Canadian women's hockey.
It's certainly a challenge to do both jobs well, but I love it and
I'm up to the challenge, Lawton told the Thursday Report. It's
a little overwhelming at times, but we have a great staff that makes the
A Future Search committee of between 50 and 70 people will evaluate the
needs and wants of the department before naming a full-time director of
recreation and athletics next spring.
Lawton was asked if he wants the job. I will do the best I can,
and if the committee is satisfied then we'll talk about it, he replied.
I really don't want to to have to give up my coaching, though.
Our job is to serve the athletes at both the varsity and recreational
levels, he continued. We have to do the little things right
and offer good service to make up for our lack of facilities.
[The Loyola Athletics Complex] may have been state-of-the-art when
it was first built, but it has become antiquated. We serve 12 times as
many students at the university now. That's why we are in the process
of updating the facilities.
Improvements at Loyola
More than $12 million has been earmarked for improvements to the complex
and its surrounding fields. Plans include a double gymnasium, pool and
fitness area, plus an artificial turf and new lights for the football
All this has been discussed for a while, Lawton said. The
football surface and lights will be in place for next spring and hopefully
everything else will be completed within five years.
Right now we just have to do the best with what we have, he
continued. I think there are some people who don't take our department
as seriously as they should. We're not just fun and games here. We have
serious student athletes. They represent the colours of the school with
Lawton's short-term goals include getting the students and surrounding
community more involved in supporting the varsity athletes.
We'll have some very competitive teams this fall and winter, so
it would be nice to have lots of fans in the stands, he said. It's
funny. We'll get more than 2,000 to come out and watch a football game
but not all that many of them are Concordia students. We'll have to find
ways to get the student body out.