William “Bill” Lessig, head coach of men’s soccer for 38 years at Connecticut College, passed away May 9, 2019. His Camel teams won 269 games from 1970-2008. He coached 19 All-Americas, including Jim Gabarra ’82, a U.S. Olympian and member of the U.S. National Team. He guided the program to its first NCAA tournament berth in 1995 and two New England ECAC championships in 1992 and 1996. His teams were ECAC finalists in 1978, 1986, 1993 and 1997.
He also coached the women’s basketball team, leading the Camels to an impressive 181-64 record and winning back-to-back NIAC championships in 1985 and 1986. His teams reached the ECAC semi-finals in three consecutive years from 1991-93. Several of his players earned All-New England honors and are enshrined in the Connecticut College Athletics Hall of Fame.
His career was honored by three Hall of Fame inductions – 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 throughout his career was active in promoting soccer. He founded the Connecticut College Soccer Camp, which has served Southeastern Connecticut for more than 35 years.
Prior to his appointment at Connecticut College, he played semi-professional soccer for the Reading, Pennsylvania, Amerks while earning his bachelor’s degree from Kutztown University. He earned a master’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State University and then taught biology and oceanography for 17 years at New London High School.
He is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Chrystyna Lessig MAT ’89; two sons, Shawn of Bluffton, S.C., and Kyle of Sarasota, Florida,, and three grandchildren, William, Madeline and Giuliana.