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Legendary Men’s Soccer Coach William Rockne “Bill” Lessig Passes Away

Bill Lessig Passes Away

NEW LONDON, Conn. – Former Connecticut College men's soccer coach and Athletic Hall of Fame inductee William Rockne "Bill" Lessig passed away on May 9. He was 75 years old.

"Bill Lessig was one of the moving forces behind our inclusion in the NESCAC," said Katherine Wenk Christoffers '45 Director of Athletics Fran Shields. "The successes of men's soccer in the late 70s and early 80s made Connecticut College a legitimate NESCAC competitor. He was a Conn College treasure who wanted only the best for his teams, and he had a desire to make us competitive in every sport." 

Lessig most notably coached the Camel men's soccer program for 38 years, and his teams won 269 matches between 1970 and 2008. He mentored 19 All-Americans, including U.S. Oympian Jim Gabarra '82, and guided the program to its first NCAA Tournament berth in 1995 as well as two New England ECAC championships in 1992 and 1996. His teams were also ECAC finalists in 1978, 1986, 1993, and 1997.

Furthermore, Lessig coached the women's basketball team and led the Camels to a 181-64 ledger as well as back-to-back NIAC championships in 1985 and 1986. Several of his players earned All-New England honors and are enshrined in the Connecticut College Athletics Hall of Fame.

Lessig himself has been enshrined in three Hall of Fame circles, which includes the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame, the Southeastern Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame, and the Connecticut College Athletics Hall of Fame. He was a USSF "A" licensed coach and founded the Connecticut College Soccer Camp, which has served the area's community for more than 35 years, and he is also regarded as a driving force behind the school's annual Homecoming festivities.

"Many people give Bill credit as the founder of Homecoming at the College," added Shields. "He put together an evening soccer match on Harkness Green that energized our campus and brought the campus community closer together. His creativity, competitive spirit, and mentoring of student-athletes made a lasting impact on our programs."

In his early career, Lessig was a biology teacher at New London High School before becoming the men's soccer coach for 38 years and women's basketball coach for 14 years at Connecticut College. During retirement, he co-founded a business, KwikTacktix, which is a software program for coaches.

Bill is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Chrystyna Lessig; two sons, Shawn of Bluffton, SC and Kyle of Sarasota, FL; and three grandchildren, William, Madeline and Giuliana.

A Scholarship Fund has been established in his name. Your support can be mailed to: Lessig Fund, c/o Raymond James, 315 Main St., Middletown, CT 06457.