Front row, precisely midcourt in the de Hoernle Sports & Cultural Center gym, an engraved nameplate marks the seat of honor for the godfather of Fighting Knights basketball, Bill Fash.
He has been indispensable to the team from the start—in fact, before the start.
“When I retired from Lynn Insurance Company in 1992, there was no basketball team at Lynn,” Fash said. “I have been a basketball junkie my whole life, so I went over to the school and offered my services, thought maybe I could help in some way, raise some money, help get the program off the ground.”
Help he has. Fash did connect with donors. Within a year, he helped head coach Jeff Price launch the men’s basketball program at Lynn. He signed on as volunteer assistant coach and even developed a software system to evaluate players.
“Bill is one of the founding fathers of Lynn basketball, helping us on and off the court since 1993,” Price said. “His generosity has allowed our program to work outside of budget and has provided us with additional support for our student athletes.”
Fash comes to every game and is usually at practice, offering insights, pep talks and occasionally free-throw coaching. He has traveled with the team, as far away as the U.S. Virgin Islands, and said “trapping” the players on the team bus has given him the opportunity to connect with them about the important things in life.
“He always challenged me to be the best player I could be.”
Kenneth Anders ’01
“Coach Price has to be more disciplined with the athletes,” Fash said. “We play good cop, bad cop, and I get to be the good cop. When we’re on the bus, I talk with players about their grades, about how to handle job interviews, about what they’re going to do in their careers. The players automatically have respect for me because of my age, so that enables me to talk with them about things beyond the basketball court.”
That was true for Kenneth Anders ’01, who calls Fash one of his all-time favorite coaches.
“If a player had academic problems, he was able to guide him,” he said. “If you had family issues and needed someone to listen or to give you advice, he was the best guy.”
The players’ love for Fash was evident when Fash’s wife died a few years ago. Many came back to pay their respects.
“He always challenged me to be the best player I could be,” said Anders, who played point guard for the Fighting Knights. “He understood where I was coming from, even when I was wrong.”
Fash’s advice comes with a player’s credentials, a point not lost on young Fighting Knights when they’re watching game film with him or taking tips from the bench. “Coach” knows basketball. Fash played guard and small forward for Syracuse University in the late ’40s and early ’50s, then played professionally in Europe.
“Hanging around with young athletes in a sport I love, it’s kept me operating and going strong all these years,” Fash said. “I’ll tell you, I got more out of this experience than they got out of me.”
Is there a nameplate in your future?
If, like Bill Fash, you’d like to lend your support to a Fighting Knights team as it is being formed, this is the perfect opportunity. In 2017–18, Lynn announced the addition of four new athletics programs: men’s cross country, men’s and women’s track, and men’s swimming.
“Introducing men’s cross country and track to our athletics portfolio reflects our program’s agility,” said Devin Crosby, athletics director.
NCAA Division II competition begins in the 2018-2019 season.
Lynn now boasts 18 NCAA varsity sports—nine women’s and nine men’s. Expanding the athletics program depends on donor support, so if the speed and endurance of running sports is your passion, contact the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs: +1 561-237-7467.