Denison University and Kenyon College have met on the lacrosse field every season since 1953. Beginning on April 21, the two schools will honor that rich tradition by playing for the newly created Thomsen-Heiser Trophy.
The trophy, which will be awarded to the winner of the annual regular season contest, was created to honor former Denison head coach, Tommy Thomsen and former Kenyon head coach, Bill Heiser. The two contemporaries were mainstays on the lacrosse sidelines for over a quarter century and both men were integral to the spread of lacrosse throughout the Midwest.
In 25 seasons as the head coach of the men's lacrosse program at Denison, Ferris "Tommy" Thomsen finished with a career record of 255-97 and a winning percentage of .724. His teams captured 13 conference championships, and at the time of his retirement in 1990, Thomsen was one of only three active college lacrosse coaches in the nation with more than 200 career victories. Thomsen remained at Denison through the 70s and into the 80s where he ushered in the era of the NCAA Tournament which began as an eight-team playoff in 1982. He coached 57 players to All-American status and guided the 1967 squad to an undefeated season. Thomsen was inducted into Denison's Varsity D Association Athletic Hall of Fame and the Ohio Lacrosse Foundation Hall of Fame in 1994. He passed away at age 80 on Jan. 2, 2012.
In 33 years as the head coach at Kenyon College, Bill Heiser compiled an overall record of 238-179 between 1970 and 2003. At the time of his retirement, that win total ranked second among all active NCAA Division III lacrosse coaches.
Heiser guided 21 Kenyon lacrosse teams to records of .500 or better, including teams from each of the last 10 seasons he coached. In 2000, he coached the Lords through a 13-2 season that included the program's first-ever North Coast Athletic Conference championship and first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III championship. Heiser was not only named the NCAC Coach of the Year for the second time in his career, but was also selected as the NCAA Division III Coach of the Year. His list of credentials also includes an induction into Ohio's Lacrosse Hall of Fame, as well as invitations to coach the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association's North-South game in 1973 and 1993.
Prior to the start of the 1 p.m. game on April 21 from Piper Stadium in Granville, Ohio, Heiser will be recognized along with members of the Thomsen family. The trophy will be presented to the winning team by Heiser and the Thomsen's at the conclusion of the contest.