Last month, Paul Lane had a seat of honor at the dedication of Staples High School’s Laddie Lawrence Track.
Lane spent nearly 30 years as a Staples coach and physical education instructor. Though best known for his football teams — including a powerhouse 1967 FCIAC champion squad, and 1975 state champs — he was also a noted track coach.
In fact, he coached a young Laddie Lawrence. The dedication last month spurred a drive to name Staples’ football stadium for Paul Lane.
Town boards will make the decision soon. But now the honor is posthumous. Lane died this afternoon. He had been in good health, until a recent fall. He was 93 years old.
Naming the field should be a slam dunk.
Between 1962 and 1987 Lane led the Wreckers to 4 FCIAC Eastern Division championships, 2 FCIAC crowns, and 122 victories. His 11-0 1975 squad was the last single state champion — determined by sportswriters — before the current playoff system began.
In the 1967 FCIAC title game, Staples snapped Stamford Catholic’s 30-game win streak, 8-0. The Crusaders — ranked #1 in Connecticut – had outscored their opponents 333-66. The Wreckers stopped them twice on the goal line, in the last quarter.
Lane started coaching football in the Army in 1950. He then served as an assistant to Frank Dornfeld for 8 years, before taking over the top job.
At Staples, Lane also won state championships coaching indoor and outdoor track — and girls golf.
He grew up in Bethel, but his family has long ties to Westport. He was a Compo Beach resident nearly all his adult life. Former players — and of course his sons Skip and Peter, both of whom played for him — often dropped by to chat with their former coach.
He entertained them — and anyone else who passed by — with a constant stream of stories. Lane remembered every game, every athlete, and every bit of Westport history.
Service arrangements are incomplete. Arrangements for the naming of “Paul Lane Field” will begin soon.