More than two years after being announced as its 14th recipient, lifelong lacrosse enthusiast Bill Belichick finally received one of the sports’ biggest honors, the Tewaaraton Spirit Award.
The New England Patriots’ head coach was recognized during the Tewaaraton Awards ceremony in Washington D.C. last week. He took his acceptance speech as an opportunity to pay homage to one of his predecessors and a legendary figure in lacrosse, the late Welles Crowther.
“First of all, I’m so humbled to be up here when I see the names of the people that have been awarded this Spirit Award. It’s just overwhelming, starting with Welles Crowther,” Belichick said.
Crowther played lacrosse at Boston College in the 1990s, and later became an equities trader in New York City. He was killed at the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, but before losing his own life at the age of 24 had helped bring several people to safety. He became known as “the man In the red bandana” due to the garment he wore on 9/11.
In 2018, the Tewaaraton Foundation names Crowther its Spirit Award recipient. Belichick paid his respects as well this week, presenting a red bandana with Crowther’s name and his former jersey number on it.
"I have so much appreciation for what they've done for the sport, and what it's meant to me."— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 3, 2022
Last night, Coach Belichick received the @Tewaaraton Spirit Award for his contributions to the game of lacrosse. pic.twitter.com/pUeJjqe40K
Belichick’s acceptance speech also saw him speak about his appreciation for the sport as a whole.
“I love lacrosse. I think that’s why we’re all here,” the 70-year-old said. “Love the game, love the sport. Love football, but there’s no huddles. There’s not too many timeouts. The ball is out of bounds, comes right back in. The game is just goes.”
Belichick lettered in lacrosse at Wesleyan University. His daughter, Amanda, also played at Wesleyan and is the current head coach at Holy Cross. Sons Stephen and Brian played at Rutgers and Trinity, respectively, before joining New England’s defensive coaching staff.
Known as “Lacrosse’s Heisman Trophy,” the Tewaaraton Awards are presented annually to the best men’s and women’s lacrosse players at the college level. Additionally, the Spirit Award is given to somebody who “nobly reflects the finest virtues exemplified in the game, and who, over the course of his or her life, has made a significant contribution to society and to the lives of others.”
Boston College attacker Charlotte North and University of Maryland attackman Logan Wisnauskas are the winners of this year’s awards. Maryland’s Kelly Amonte Hiller and Johns Hopkins’ Dave Pietramala were furthermore honored as Tewaaraton Legends.