United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association

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The United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association is an association of member institutions and organizations with college lacrosse programs at all levels of competition, including the three NCAA divisions and non-NCAA schools, at both the varsity and club levels for men and women. The association traces its history through predecessor organizations back to 1882, although it received its present name and became a governing body with unlimited membership in 1926.[1]


The USILA has inducted members into the United States Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of Fame annually since 1957. In addition, the USILA presents annually a number of awards to top collegiate athletes in NCAA Division I, Division II, and Division III.

Division I awards[edit]

Award Presented for
Lt. Raymond Enners Award National Player of the Year
F. Morris Touchstone Award Coach of the Year
Jack Turnbull Award Attackman of the Year
Lt. Donald McLaughlin Jr Award Midfielder of the Year
William C. Schmeisser Award Defenseman of the Year
Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. Award Goaltender of the Year

Special Awards[edit]

See footnote[2]
  • Howdy Meyers Man of the Year Award
  • Frenchy Julien Service Award
  • Doyle Smith Sports Information/Media Award
  • Coach of the Year (Division III)
  • Coach of the Year (Division II)
  • Coach of the Year (Division I) – see F. Morris Touchstone Award


The first intercollegiate game in the United States was played on November 22, 1877 between New York University and Manhattan College.[3][4] Lacrosse had been introduced in upstate New York in the 1860s. Lacrosse was further introduced to the Baltimore area in the 1890s. These two areas continue to be hotbeds of college lacrosse in the U.S. An organizing body for the sport, the U. S. National Amateur Lacrosse Association, was founded in 1879.[1] The first intercollegiate lacrosse tournament was held in 1881, with Harvard beating Princeton, 3-0, in the championship game.[5] New York University and Columbia University also participated.[1]

In 1882 three colleges formed a league called the Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (ILA), which four other colleges soon joined.[1] From this point through 1931, collegiate lacrosse associations chose an annual champion based on season records.[1] In 1894, the Inter-University Lacrosse League (IULL) began play using slightly different rules.[6] The two leagues merged in December, 1905, to form the 8-team United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse League.[1] The USILL was a closed-membership league, which excluded several lacrosse powers, such as the U.S. Naval Academy.[1][7] The national championship was officially bestowed only upon teams that were included in the membership of these organizations.[1]

In 1906, the USILL established Northern and Southern Divisions and in 1912 began conducting a post-season playoff. Harvard defeated Swarthmore, 7-3, in the first formal playoff. This system continued through 1925.[1] As Navy was not a member of the USILL, its teams were not eligible for the championship, even though Navy had the best collegiate record in many of those years.[1][7] Navy was undefeated from 1917 through 1923, a stretch of 40 games with one tie.[1][7]

The USILL was replaced by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association in March, 1926, as an open-membership governing body.[1] Twelve more teams became new USILA members, in addition to the former USILL teams. The USILA bestowed gold medals upon the teams that it selected as national champions through the 1931 season.[1] No official champions were named from 1932 through 1935.[1] In 1936, an award was established in the memory of a Baltimore sportswriter to recognize annually the most outstanding teams. From 1936 through 1972, the USILA executive board awarded the Wingate Memorial Trophy to the national champions.[1]

From at least 1951, if not earlier, lacrosse divisions were officially named after legendary lacrosse-men. These were the Cy Miller, Laurie D. Cox, and Roy Taylor Divisions. They were more commonly referred to Division I, or A; Division II, or B; and Division III, or C.[8] All college teams were placed in one of the three divisions, dependent upon their records, schedules, and success for the preceding five years, and a point system was created. Any team of the three divisions was eligible to win the national championship, but this was virtually impossible for non-Division I teams. A Division II team, playing several Division I teams, might have been able to achieve it.[8] A team's record was required to include six games against teams in its own division. Teams were realigned every three years, again reflecting their records. All schools were eligible for the national rankings. The team that achieved the highest point total each year, however, was not guaranteed a solo national championship. The system served as guidance to the USILA executive board, who chose co-champions on frequent occasions.[1] This point system prevailed with modifications until the NCAA in the early 1970s established the playoff system for determining champions.[8]

At its 1969 annual meeting in Baltimore, the USILA voted for its first playoff tournament to determine a national champion. In 1971, the NCAA began sponsoring men's lacrosse and began holding an annual championship tournament for Division I schools. The USILA conducted a small college tournament for non-Division I schools in 1972 and 1973 (won by Hobart and Cortland State).[1] In 1974, the NCAA took over the sponsorship of this tournament through the 1979 season, with separate tournaments being conducted in both 1980 and 1981 for Divisions II and III teams. The Division II tournament then was discontinued until returning in 1993.

List of ILA, USILL, USILA Champions 1881–1931†[edit]

Year Champion Year Champion Year Champion
1881[1] Harvard 1900 Johns Hopkins 1919 Johns Hopkins[7]
1882 Harvard 1901 Swarthmore 1920 Lehigh ‡[7]
1883 Harvard, Princeton, Yale 1902 Johns Hopkins 1921 Lehigh ‡[7]
1884 Princeton 1903 Johns Hopkins 1922 Syracuse, Johns Hopkins[7]
1885 Harvard 1904 Swarthmore 1923 Army, Johns Hopkins
1886 Harvard 1905 Swarthmore 1924 Syracuse, Johns Hopkins
1887 Harvard 1906 Johns Hopkins 1925 Syracuse[7]
1888 Princeton 1907 Johns Hopkins, Cornell 1926 Johns Hopkins
1889 Princeton 1908 Johns Hopkins 1927 Johns Hopkins
1890 Lehigh 1909 Johns Hopkins 1928 Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Navy, Rutgers
1891 Johns Hopkins 1910 Swarthmore 1929 Navy, Union College[1][9]
1892 Stevens Tech 1911 Johns Hopkins 1930 St. John's (MD)
1893 Lehigh 1912 Harvard ‡ 1931 St. John's (MD)
1894 Stevens Tech 1913 Johns Hopkins, Harvard 1932† Johns Hopkins†
1895 New York University 1914 Lehigh, Cornell[7] 1933† Johns Hopkins†
1896 Lehigh 1915 Johns Hopkins 1934† Johns Hopkins†
1897 Lehigh 1916 Lehigh, Cornell 1935† Princeton†
1898 Johns Hopkins 1917 Stevens Tech, Lehigh
1899 Johns Hopkins 1918 Stevens Tech, Johns Hopkins[7]

‡ Won a post-season championship game between the winners of the USILL Northern and Southern Divisions.[1]

† The USILA did not name champions for the 1932–1935 seasons.[1] The teams listed claim the national championship based on being the leading team in the nation for these years.[1]

List of USILA Champions 1936–1972[edit]

Further information: Wingate Memorial Trophy

Notations on ILA, USILL, USILA Champions[edit]

Year Champion Notation
1891 Johns Hopkins 1st of Hopkins' 44 national titles, team went 5-1 defeating Lehigh, Stevens, Penn
1910 Swarthmore Went undefeated against Harvard, Carlisle, Stevens, Navy, Lehigh, also 16-3 win over Hopkins, losses to club teams Mt. Washington and Toronto
1914 Navy Navy began a string of years in which its teams recorded some of the best collegiate records, although not as a member of the USILL.[1] The team went 6-0-1, defeating Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Swarthmore, as well as the eventual national co-champions, Lehigh and Cornell, with a tie against Carlisle.[7]

Team Championship Records, 1881–1935[edit]

Team Championships Winning Years
Johns Hopkins 24 1891, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1902, 1903, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1911, 1913, 1915,

1918, 1919, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1932§, 1933§, 1934§

Lehigh 9 1890, 1893, 1896, 1897, 1914, 1916, 1917, 1920‡, 1921‡
Harvard 8 1881†, 1882, 1883, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1912‡, 1913
Princeton 5 1883, 1884, 1888, 1889, 1935§
Swarthmore 4 1901, 1904, 1905, 1910
Stevens Tech 4 1892, 1894, 1917, 1918
Syracuse 3 1922, 1924, 1925
Cornell 3 1907, 1914, 1916
St. John's (MD) 2 1930, 1931
Navy 2[7] 1928, 1929
Maryland 1 1928
Army 1 1923
New York University 1 1895
Yale 1 1883
Rutgers 1 1928
Union College 1 1929

† Won a tournament conducted for the first collegiate national championship.

‡ Won a post-season championship game between the winners of the USILL Northern and Southern Divisions.[1]

§ The USILA did not name champions for the 1932–1935 seasons.[1] School claims national championship based on being that year's leading team.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Scott, Bob (1976). Lacrosse Technique and Tradition. The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-2060-X. 
  2. ^ 2009 USILA Special Awards. USILA official website. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
  3. ^ "History – Lacrosse". HickokSports.com. Retrieved May 30, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Lacrosse History". STX. Retrieved May 30, 2009. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Lacrosse History: The Birth of Modern North American Lacrosse 1850-1900". E-Lacrosse. Retrieved May 30, 2009. 
  6. ^ Fisher, Donald M. (14 Mar 2002). Lacrosse: A History of the Game. The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 64–71. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "The History of Navy Lacrosse". 2014 NAVY MEN’S LACROSSE MEDIA GUIDE: 84. Retrieved 2014-10-21. "Coach Finlayson expanded the cornerstone of Navy’s winning lacrosse tradition with seven undefeated seasons from 1917 through 1923 (one tie), a 40 game winning streak. In that seven–year span, Navy stood supreme among college lacrosse teams in the nation. By the end of the 1926 season, Coach Finlayson had eleven undefeated seasons (including three with one tie), but had not yet won a National Championship. In 1928, Navy shared its first National Championship with Johns Hopkins, Maryland and Rutgers, followed by its second in 1929 when Navy and Union College were both presented gold medals." 
  8. ^ a b c Clark, Charles B. "Letters". WASHINGTON COLLEGE Magazine (Washington College). Spring 1995. Retrieved 2014-10-20. 
  9. ^ "Hall of Fame 1929 Men's Lacrosse Team". Retrieved 2014-10-20. 

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