Westport votes to rename the Excessive College Soccer Subject after the beloved late coach after
WESTPORT – Paul Lane wasn’t just a longtime football coach. He was a friend, mentor, and guiding force to many at Westport.
“He has coached three sports for over 30 years and thousands of children have been influenced by this person,” said Jim Adrian, chairman of the Staples High School Gridiron Club.
Adrian spoke before the Westport Representative Town Meeting Tuesday night on behalf of efforts to rename the Staples soccer field to Lane, who died June 15 at the age of 93. Lane spent three decades with Staples, coaching soccer, golf, and athletics.
The RTM ultimately voted unanimously to rename the field Lane, but not after several people – including Adrian, Staples track coach Laddie Lawrence and several members of the RTM – shared fond memories of Lane.
Adrian said someone first introduced him to the idea of renaming the soccer field Lane some time ago.
“A lot of people asked me, ‘How did that not happen?’ ”
According to a letter sent by Friends of Coach Paul Lane to Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe in May, the late coach was “critical to the growth of football in Westport. Coach Lane promoted and supervised athletes from the formative PAL years to high school. Many credit Coach Lane for the success of Staples football and the reputation that continues in Connecticut to this day. “
In his presentation, Adrian said he did a thorough research into Lane and found that while he was an effective trainer, he was also a seemingly gentle one.
“I heard about how he trained, kind of with a gentle hand,” said Adrian. “He didn’t scold, didn’t talk down, didn’t try to motivate by intimidation, but caught the bees with honey instead of a fly swatter.”
Before coming to the RTM, the proposal to rename the soccer field had to go through several other bodies, including the Board of Education and the Board of Selectmen. At Tuesday’s meeting, many of the RTM members had kind words about Lane, including Andrew Colabella, who represents the fourth district.
“He had this ability to get people to see their true potential,” said Colabella. “He was not only the father of four children, he was also the father of children in the fields and on the track.”
After the panel voted 29-0 to rename the field Lane, Marpe issued a statement welcoming the decision.
“The legacy of the late Coach Lane exemplifies the lifelong impact a great coach can have on students and athletes,” he said. “His story is the model that every teacher and coach should follow.”