Our very own John McGrath is the winner of the 2012 Frenchy Julian Award.

This is a US Lacrosse service award for officials who’ve gone above and beyond the call for the benefit of the sport.

Steve Hood and Clint Carter nominated John back in November and were present when John was presented the award and received an immediate standing ovation from the roughly 1000 officials at the annual NCAA officials meeting.

Many of you know that Tim Clark received the Rev. Charles Williams Award in October. It speaks volumes about lacrosse in Indiana that these two men won such prestigious awards in the same year.

Congratulations John! Thank you for all you’ve done, you do, and will continue to do for lacrosse in Indiana.

Here is the statement which was read at the presentation:

“We are all here because we love the game of lacrosse.  The winner of this award is no exception.  He is a Baltimore kid that grew up playing high school ball at Delaney High School in Baltimore and continued his playing career at St. Mary’s in Maryland.  He was a tenacious d-pole that perfected what kids these days call the “coma-slide” – when an attack man feels a little cocky and thinks he can cut the crease to score and gets slammed by a d-pole.  When he played goalie he played with 2 sweatshirts for a chest protector.  He truly loved and LIVED the game of lacrosse.

Upon moving to the Midwest he continued playing post-collegiate lacrosse and started programs (and played) in Atlanta and at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.  After the years started catching up with him and he started a family he focused his efforts on officiating and growing the sport.  Living in Indiana in the late 90\’s there was no high school lacrosse.  So, he got together with a couple of Butler lacrosse grads and started high school lacrosse in Indiana.  In 1999 Indiana High School Lacrosse was formed.  There were 4 teams and they literally scheduled around his availability to officiate the games since he was the only official in the state. He would frequently work solo on a game at 6:00, then solo again at another site at 8:00.  He conducted all clinics in his basement.  He would buy the necessary materials out of his own pocket and have new recruits purchase them from him at cost.  If there weren’t enough officials he would eat the amount he overpaid.  He would recruit football, soccer and hockey officials as well as parents in the stands to learn the game and then get certified.

He used his experiences as a Baltimore native and connections to more established areas in the Midwest to turn the Indiana Lacrosse Officials Association into an organization right in line with US Lacrosse by-laws and philosophies.  After a few officials became certified he served as the assigner.  He did not charge teams, leagues, or the officials for his services.

Lacrosse has grown from 4 High School teams to teams throughout the entire state in just a few years and well over 150 youth teams, with leagues popping up every year. With this growth he has slowly stepped back, turning over assigning, the treasury, and the registration process to other members of the association. However, he still serves as a clinician, observer, and board member.  He still works a full-time schedule, working everything from 3rd and 4th grade games to NCAA Division 1 – and quite frankly, he is just as happy officiating at either level.

It’s very reasonable to say that lacrosse in Indiana would never have advanced as quickly were it not for him.

He is a true ambassador to the sport – a sport he absolutely loves.

This year’s Frenchy Julian award goes to John McGrath – from district 6 – Indianapolis, Indiana.”