In sports, coaches are the primary leaders in building and establishing the culture of a team.  At the college level, a coaching staff sometimes includes someone who chooses to volunteer his time to help the program.

Coach Ted Lawson, a volunteer coach, was one of those men for the McDaniel College baseball program. Teddy’s contributions on and off the field helped shape a foundation that led to some of the best seasons in school history, and continues today.

Some McDaniel baseball alumni have a group chat, often a source of lighthearted fun, to keep in touch with old teammates and friends.  This morning, the normally easygoing mood of the group dimmed in remembrance of a legend. A man who made an impact on each of us at one point or another in our college baseball careers.

Even after he was no longer able to continue coaching on the diamond, Teddy insisted on continuing his support of the team. Remaining a part of the program meant a lot to the players, especially those that knew him from his days as a coach.

“Teddy’s fundraising was huge for us,” a current coach (and former player) said, “he’s responsible for getting our turtle, infield protector, and fences in front of the dugout”.

But Coach Lawson’s contributions extended far beyond upgrades to Preston Field.  He made a lasting impact on players, as alumni fondly recalled their favorite stories.

Players looked up to Teddy for his words of wisdom and encouragement.  His experience of being in baseball for such a long time was incredibly helpful to 20-year-old college kids still learning the intricacies of the game.

Teddy was known for his speeches, which were mentioned often by players.

“It was Opening Day,” a former pitcher said, “and Teddy gave us a great pre-game speech.”

“He talked about how we were a new team and that this game would be the start of something big.  Then he told us to pile it on, and don’t stop.”

A former infielder remembered another epic speech.

“We were going to Gettysburg, and it was a must-win game.  All of a sudden, Teddy stands up and gives us this awesome, rousing speech, starting with Abe Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.”

Teddy loved baseball, and he was dedicated to helping each and every player improve their game.  He was also a bit of a character, as a former infielder recalled.

“Teddy was behind the net, directly behind home plate, keeping his scorebook like always,” the player remembers, “so the umpire asked him to move.  Well Teddy thought he got tossed!  So he went back and sat on the bus.”

Teddy always managed to lighten the mood.  His presence had a calming effect on the team.  Whenever he was around, players felt looser and at ease.

“Teddy was driving us to a game in Florida.  He missed the turn to the field and the GPS was barking at him.  But Teddy just shook his head and kept driving.”

“One of the guys spoke up and told him that he missed the turn.  So he stopped in the middle of the highway, and drove right over the median.  We got to the field and Teddy said ‘I told you I’d get you here on time’.”

Teddy will be put to rest this week, wearing his McDaniel baseball jacket.

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