CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- The DeSales University community is mourning the death of assistant coach William “Bill” Lawson, 79, who died Saturday in a car accident in Hunterdon County, N.J.

“The DeSales University athletic family and the entire University community are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of our friend and colleague Bill Lawson,” DeSales athletic director Scott Coval said. “In his time at DSU, Bill mentored numerous student-athletes and was a positive role model for all in the athletic department. His gentle and caring spirit embodied the teachings of St. Francis de Sales. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Peggy, and the entire Lawson family. Bill will be missed by all at DeSales.”

Lawson just finished his third season as an assistant coach at DeSales, bringing with him more than 40 years of coaching experience after serving as the head men's lacrosse coach at Lafayette College for 31 years. This past season, Lawson helped lead the Bulldogs to their second career playoff appearance and first ECAC Mid-Atlantic Region tournament berth.

“The news of Bill Lawson's passing is devastatingly sad,” DeSales head coach Mike Schambach said. “On behalf of DeSales lacrosse and the entire athletic department our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Peggy, and the entire Lawson family. He will be sorely missed in Center Valley. Coach Lawson had a way with people and his legacy of kindness and joy will live in the hearts of us all.”

A 1959 graduate of Springfield College, Lawson joined the Lafayette coaching staff in 1965 as both the swimming and tennis head coach before assuming the men's lacrosse post in 1972, retiring following the 2002 season. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2002.