CENTREVILLE, Mass. - Eastern College Athletic
Conference (ECAC) Commissioner Dr. Kevin T. McGinniss announced
today that Wesleyan Athletics Director Emeritus John
Biddiscombe will receive the 2013 James Lynah Award
for Distinguished Achievement at the 2013 ECAC Honors Dinner
sponsored by Jostens, held in conjunction with the 25th Annual ECAC
Convention and Trade Show that will be held September 29 - October
1 at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth, Mass.
Biddiscombe and two other James Lynah award winners, Baruch's Dr. William Eng and Johnson & Wales' John Parente, will be recognized at the Honors Dinner on Sunday, September 29 at 6:30pm. To register and attend the ECAC Honors Dinner, please visit ecac.org/convention.
Biddiscombe retired in June 2012 after 37 years at Wesleyan University as a coach and an administrator. Biddiscombe arrived on the Middletown, Conn. campus in 1974 as the football, wrestling and track and field coach. Over the course of 15 years as the head wrestling coach, his teams won 60-percent of their matches, including the 1984 New England Championship. Biddiscombe was the 1984 and 1989 New England Wrestling Coach of the Year and was inducted into the New England Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2004.
As an administrator, Biddiscombe made advancements and contributions on the Wesleyan campus and beyond. At Wesleyan, he advocated for the recruitment of full-time coaches for women’s sports, instituted a team mentoring program with members of the faculty, formed the Alumni Athletics Advisory Council and developed the Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame. In 1990, Biddescombe oversaw the development and completion of the $22-million Freeman Athletic Center. Originally a 60,000-square-foot complex, he facilitated a $13-million, 7,500-square-foot addition in January 2005, turning the athletic center into one of the finest in the country.
Outside of Wesleyan, Biddiscombe chaired the NCAA Management Council responsible for oversight of Division III operations and was a member of the NCAA Executive Committee. He was a contributor to the Mellon Foundation’s study of college athletics, which ultimately lead to the publishing of the book, “Reclaiming the Game: College Sports and Educational Values.” Biddiscombe was the New England Small College Athletic Conference president in 1995-96 and in 1999-2000, he was named the Division III Athletic Director of the Year for the Northeast Region by the National Association of College Athletic Directors.
The James Lynah Distinguished Achievement Award is bestowed annually to a maximum of four former ECAC athletic administrators who have achieved outstanding success in their career and have made an unusual contribution in the interest of intercollegiate athletics, the NCAA and the ECAC. For the purposes of defining the position, an eligible candidate must have been an ECAC director, associate director or assistant director of athletics or senior woman administrator. Candidates are accepted following one full year of retirement and once nominated, will be eligible for election for a three year period.
In 1957, the ECAC created the James Lynah Award in lasting appreciation of the important services rendered to the organization by the man for whom the prize is named. In 1935, Mr. Lynah, a Cornell graduate of the Class of 1905, was called out of retirement - which followed an eminently successful career in industry - to reorganize the athletic administrative program at his alma mater. While occupying the position of Director of Athletics at Cornell, he stimulated and led the movement which on January 1, 1938, established the Central Office for Eastern Intercollegiate Athletics, the agency which ten years later became the Eastern College Athletic Conference. Thus, in honoring James Lynah, the ECAC is paying respects and giving thanks to its principle founder.