Written by Joe Raposo
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Richard D. Frisbie '71, JD '74, a former All-Ivy Harvard lacrosse midfielder who captained the Crimson his senior year, is leading his team once again with today's announcement of the Frisbie Family Endowed Coach for Men's Lacrosse. Frisbie's gift will endow the head coaching position and also help support the annual operation of the nationally recognized men's lacrosse program.
"Rick's generous gift honors the great tradition of varsity sports at Harvard," said Robert L. Scalise, Nichols Family Director of Athletics, who also served as the men's lacrosse head coach for more than a decade. "Rick and his wife Lisa have been dedicated supporters of Harvard athletics for many years. They recognize that these programs add value to the College experience and benefit student-athletes throughout their lives."
The news comes only weeks after the announcement of the first two women's head coaching endowments in Harvard history. RoAnn Costin '74, a former All-America swimmer and rower for the Crimson, established the Costin Family Endowed Coach for Women's Swimming and Diving. On the heels of Costin's gift, C. Kevin Landry '66, his wife Barrie, and their daughters Kimberly GwinnLandry '93 and Jennifer Landry Le '99 created the Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Ice Hockey.
"I am constantly reminded that the dedication and commitment to excellence of our student-athletes are matched by the loyalty and support of our alumni and friends," Scalise said. "The University is grateful to Rick and Lisa, and to all of our donors for their extraordinary generosity."
Frisbie hopes that his gift will influence the lives of many generations of Harvard lacrosse players-much as his life was influenced by his time in Cambridge. "Harvard has meant a lot to me," he explained. "I made some of my best friends there and I had some great experiences, including playing lacrosse and football. Harvard has helped me attain some of the accomplishments in my life; I wanted to give back in a way that was meaningful to me, and athletics was an important part of my Harvard experience."
Indeed, Frisbie is no stranger to Harvard athletics. He was a three-year starter in lacrosse (1969-1971) and football (1968-1970) during an era when freshmen were not eligible to play on the varsity squads. As a senior captain, Frisbie helped lead his lacrosse team to its best record in seven years. On the gridiron, he was a talented, hardnosed cornerback, "one of the best players in the league...as tough as they come," according to his backfield coach. He earned first team All-Ivy League honors in both sports. Years later, his daughter Lizzy '02 also played for the Crimson, as a midfielder on the women's lacrosse team. Today, Frisbie remains an active alumnus, serving as a member of Harvard's Visiting Committee for Athletics and co-chairing the Class of 1971's Gift Committee.
Scalise noted that the Frisbie endowment strengthens one of Harvard's most established programs. Harvard has won 13 national championships in men's lacrosse, including the first intercollegiate title in 1881. Crimson teams have won three Ivy League championships (1964, 1980, 1990) and made five NCAA tournament appearances (1980, 1988, 1990, 1996, 2006). Eighty-three Harvard players have achieved All-America status. Remarkably, men's lacrosse has had only four head coaches since 1949: Bruce Munro (1949-1974); Scalise (1975-1987); Scott Anderson (1988-2007); and John Tillman, who is in his first season after a successful stint as head assistant coach at the United States Naval Academy.
Tillman, Harvard's first Frisbie Family Endowed Coach for Men's Lacrosse, expressed his gratitude and excitement about the future. "Harvard men's lacrosse enjoys a proud tradition, and I'm excited and feel fortunate to lead the program," he said. "This significant gift illustrates an extraordinary level of alumni interest and commitment, as evidenced by Rick Frisbie's leadership. We're sending a strong message to the nation's outstanding student-athletes that Harvard is dedicated to the long-term success of our lacrosse program."