LEWISBURG, Pa. – Renowned coach and humanitarian Sid Jamieson is calling it a career this year after 50 years of service to Bucknell University, and on Tuesday night he was honored at a retirement reception in front of more than 100 guests at the Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The guest list was loaded with alumni, particularly from football and lacrosse – the two sports that he coached at Bucknell – some of whom traveled from as far as the West Coast to attend the event. Among those that returned for the reception were 10 members of the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame: Steve Baird ’72 (tennis), Lou Kissling ’71 (lacrosse), Gene Luccarelli ’71 (football, baseball), Mickey Melberger ’61 (football), Randy Ruger ’70 (football, baseball), Tom Sanders ’79 (lacrosse), Gary Toubman ’76 (soccer), Peter von Hoffman ’79 (lacrosse), Dr. Gary Sojka (former University president) and of course Jamieson himself.
One of the highlights of the night was a reflective discussion, moderated by Dr. Sojka, on the topic of Jamieson’s journey over the last 50 years. “Coach J” reminisced about his early introduction to the sport of lacrosse; how he literally hitchhiked to Bucknell from Cortland, New York, to meet a friend and stumbled into his first job; his memories as a football coach at Bucknell; how lacrosse has evolved into an internationally prominent sport; and some poignant closing thoughts about why we compete in sports.
“There has been no better ambassador for Bucknell University and Bison Athletics over the last five decades than Sid Jamieson,” said director of athletics and recreation John Hardt. “I would like to sincerely thank Sid for all that he has done for Bucknell and congratulate him on an incredible 50 years at Bucknell. It is humbling to think about the astounding number of people whose lives he has enriched as a coach, teacher and dear friend during those 50 years.”
Jamieson founded Bucknell’s varsity lacrosse program in 1968 and served as head coach for the next 38 years. A native of Youngstown, N.Y., he landed at Bucknell in 1964 just after graduating from Cortland State. His first job was as a graduate housefellow and physical education teacher. Shortly thereafter he became Assistant Dean of Men, and in May of 1967 he was picked to be the head coach of the Bucknell men’s lacrosse team, which was still a year away from becoming the school’s 11th full-fledged varsity sport. Jamieson, who had coached the club lacrosse team for two years, was also named coach of the freshman football team, and he remained with the grid program as an assistant coach until 1988.
Jamieson’s Bison lacrosse teams captured seven championships in three different conferences – the Patriot League, the East Coast Conference and the Mid-Atlantic Conference. His Bison squads won or shared four straight Patriot League titles from 2000-03 while producing a 21-3 conference record over that span. In 38 seasons, Jamieson compiled a coaching record of 242-232 (.511). At the time of his retirement, he ranked 10th in NCAA lacrosse history on the all-time list for coaching wins.
In 1996 Jamieson led the Bison to the greatest season in program history, as Bucknell finished 12-0 and captured the Patriot League championship. Jamieson was named Patriot League Coach of the Year and USILA Division I National Coach of the Year. The Bison ranked ninth in the final USILA Top-20 poll after turning in the first undefeated season in Bucknell history. While the 1996 team was controversially snubbed for an NCAA Tournament berth, Jamieson guided the Herd to their first NCAA appearance in 2001 after capturing another Patriot League crown.
Jamieson coached 17 All-Americans and had 14 Bison invited to play in the illustrious North-South All-Star game. An impressive total of 116 of his players earned all-league distinction. Two players were named Most Valuable Player in the MAC and one in the ECC. In the Patriot League, the Bison had two Players of the Year, four Defensive Players of the year, four Offensive Players of the Year and three Rookies of the Year in Jamieson’s tenure. In addition, the Bison coaching staff was honored as the Patriot League’s top staff three times, including 2005.
Jamieson has won the prestigious Burma-Bucknell Bowl, given for “outstanding contributions to intercultural and international understanding.” In 1994, he took his team on a two-week tour of Japan to compete in the International Lacrosse Friendship Games. Bucknell played the Japanese National Team and participated in lacrosse clinics. That trip led to a young player from Japan, Taro Yoshitome, coming to the United States to study at Bucknell and play on the Bison lacrosse team, where he became a two-time First Team All-Patriot League selection.
Jamieson has also been a dynamic force on the international lacrosse scene through his involvement with the Iroquois National Team. From 1983-86 Jamieson served as head coach of the Iroquois Nationals, a team made up of Native North Americans from both the United States and Canada. Jamieson led the team to the 1984 World Lacrosse Games, a part of the pre-Olympic cultural events of the Los Angeles Summer Olympics. In 1985 he coached the team on a 10-day tour of England with the English National Team. Jamieson took the team to the World Lacrosse Championships in Perth, Australia, in 1990 while serving as the team’s executive director, and he is currently an emeritus member of its executive board.
Jamieson, an Iroquois whose parents were both raised on the Six Nations Indian Reservation in Brantford, Ontario, has given numerous lectures for Native American youth on education, self-motivation and self-esteem. He is also called upon to speak in classrooms on campus and in the community regarding Native American issues. At all Bucknell home lacrosse games, Jamieson flew the flag of the Haudenosaunee, the six-nation Iroquois confederacy, and in October 2003 he participated in a ceremony with longtime friend Oren Lyons, faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation, in which a Tree of Peace was planted in front of the Kenneth Langone Athletics and Recreation Center. Lyons was among those in attendance to honor Jamieson at Tuesday’s reception.
He is a past member of the university’s Committee on Substance Abuse, the Discipline Review Board, Gender Equity Committee and the Task Force on Diversity. He has also been a member of the Athletic Department’s Advisory Committee and was on the search committee to hire current director of athletics John Hardt. Since his retirement as lacrosse coach, Jamieson has remained involved with Bison Athletics as a fundraiser.
Many of lacrosse’s most prominent honors have been bestowed upon Jamieson. He won the highly esteemed Gen. George M. Gelston Award in 1985, as the person who most represents the symbol of the game of lacrosse. He received the Howdy Myers Memorial Award as college lacrosse’s “Man of the Year” in 1986 and again in 1996. And in 2005 he received the special Spirit of Tewaaraton Award, presented by the Tewaaraton Foundation to an individual who has honored the traditions of the sport.
Also in 2005 he was awarded the Frenchy Julien/USILA Service Award by the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association. The award is presented in honor of former chief referee Joseph R. "Frenchy" Julien, and it is given in recognition of outstanding service to the sport of lacrosse.
In December 2006, Jamieson was honored by the Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association with its inaugural Creators Award, which is “bestowed periodically to an IMLCA member for achievements in the core areas of advocacy, leadership, education, honor, spirit and service to the game of lacrosse.”
And in March 2013 he was inducted into the American Indian Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Missouri.
Jamieson was a featured speaker at the National Coaches Association meetings and clinics in both 2001 and 2003. He coached the North team to victory in the 1998 North South All-Star Game, and from 1993-96 he served as secretary of the U.S. Lacrosse Coaches Association.
In February 2003, Jamieson was inducted into the Pennsylvania Lacrosse Hall of Fame in Philadelphia. In October 2005 he joined seven of his former student-athletes in the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame, and a year later he was inducted into the SUNY Cortland C-Club Hall of Fame.