In the annals of Hobart College athletics history, few figures cast a longer shadow than Dave Urick, who coached the Statesmen lacrosse team to 10 straight NCAA Division III Championships during the 1980s. In honor of Urick’s 19 years coaching at Hobart, and his indelible impact on the Statesman lacrosse program, the Colleges named the stadium at the Caird Center for Sports and Recreation in Urick’s honor. Following the dedication ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 29, the arena became known as Boswell Field at David J Urick Stadium.
“There are very few coaches out there who had the kind of track record that he did throughout their whole coaching career,” says Eric Stein ’89, who played lacrosse for Urick during several of those championship seasons.
But as a coach, Urick had a vision that was about “more than wins and losses,” Stein recalls. “He was a guy with a unique ability to connect with his players and command respect, yet had a dry wit that really resonated with all of us. In many ways, not only was he a great coach, he was a great mentor and for many he was like a second father. The mark he left on so many athletes is incredible. When you have someone with the kind of success he had as a coach and a leader and a mentor to so many, I think it’s only fitting to do something like this.”
Marc Van Arsdale ’85, assistant lacrosse coach at Loyola University Maryland, grew up in Geneva and was a ball boy at Hobart lacrosse practices. He was later recruited by Coach Urick, played for him and went on to coach with him. “Through all of that, he was consistent — a balanced person you could count on to be that quality guy in all situations,” Van Arsdale recalls, noting Urick’s knack for motivating everyone on the team. “Whether you were a first team All-American captain or the last guy off the bench, he made you feel important.”
A 1970 graduate of Cortland State where he starred in football and lacrosse, Urick joined the Hobart staff as an assistant football and lacrosse coach in 1971. He became head football coach in 1976, posting a 7-2 record and earning ICAC Coach of the Year honors that season. He was the co-head coach of the lacrosse team in 1979 and took the reins solo in 1980, the same year he stepped down as football coach to dedicate his talents and energy to lacrosse exclusively.
“Hobart lacrosse was already impressive, but the energy and pride after Coach Urick came in and won 10 national championships in a row has never gone away,” says Hobart’s current head lacrosse coach Greg Raymond.
As head lacrosse coach, Urick posted an unprecedented record of 129-33, including a 90-3 record against Division III teams. Urick coached 40 All-American players during his tenure at Hobart, before leaving Geneva in 1989 for the head coach position at Georgetown University, where he brought the Hoyas’ program to national prominence.
Part of Urick’s career-long record of success on the field was due to his leadership style, Stein says. “I’ve never seen a coach who was so understated and yet commanded as much respect as he did,” he explains. “When he did speak you listened, and you laughed. He had a way in big moments of getting you fired up and yet calm and relaxed.”
In that mixture of humor, composure and resolve, Urick modeled “those qualities we look for in mentors and leaders — wisdom, compassion, humility, a toughness about him that you respected,” says Van Arsdale. In short, he was “someone you wanted to put your best foot forward for because you knew he was for you.”
As Hobart head coach, Urick won the Francis “Babe” Kraus Award as Division III Coach of the Year in 1980 and 1981. In 1987, he won his eighth-straight Division III title, surpassing UCLA’s John Wooden for most consecutive championships in a team sport. An active member of the NCAA Lacrosse Committee, Urick also served as head coach of the champion United States team in the 1986 World Games. A member of the Hobart College Athletic Hall of Fame, Urick has been inducted to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Potomac Chapter of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2005.
“Great programs are built on the effort of great people. Not only was Coach Urick a great tactical coach who could draw up X’s and O’s and get guys to play harder and more physical, but he’s also a great person,” says Raymond, who grew up in Corning during the Statesmen’s historic championship streak and got to know the Urick family as he applied to colleges and began coaching himself. “It’s paramount to build trust and appreciation between coach and player. It’s the only way this works. There is no doubt Coach Urick had an extraordinary capability of developing profound relationships with his guys. He influenced, mentored, taught behavioral development, and showed his men how to take full advantage of their careers as college athletes. However many years later now, he remains completely and utterly influential, and Hobart remains very grateful.”
In addition to the dedication of the stadium in Urick’s honor in September, proceeds from the fundraising campaign will support a new $3.5 million indoor turf field facility that will be built on the south side of Robert A. Bristol Field House and dedicated in February. The fundraising campaign was initiated with a $1 million lead gift from Trustee Thomas B. Poole ’61, L.H.D.’06 and his wife Mary Jane Poole P’91. The facility will offer practice and game space away from the elements for the Colleges’ field hockey, football, lacrosse and soccer teams, while also freeing up the main floor of Bristol Field House for recreation, intramurals and club sports.
Stein, who helped lead the campaign, says that “as a group of teammates from all the years that he coached, we couldn’t have been prouder to support the initiative to honor him. This is a great opportunity to permanently memorialize a great person, great coach and great leader.”
Opportunities remain to make a gift in support of this project in honor of Coach Urick. Interested parties may contact Vice President of Advancement Bob O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 781-3535.