Bill Schmeisser – Member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame

William Christian Schmeisser (Bill Schmeisser), also known as “Father Bill”, was a very successful American lacrosse player, coach and patron. He regarded his role in lacrosse as altruism and never got a remuneration for his coaching. He was also one of the first lacrosse players, who was inducted in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1957. These are the reasons why we want to report about such a great sponsor of the sport lacrosse.

Bill Schmeisser - famouse lacrosse playerFacts about Bill Schmeisser

Bill Schmeisser was born on the 4th of August 1880 in Baltimore, Maryland and died on the 1st of July 1941 at the age of 60. He spent his lacrosse player career as a defenseman from 1900 to 1902 and 1905 at the Johns Hopkins University. He also spent his coaching career at the Johns Hopkins University, 1902-1903, 1905 – 1909 and 1923 – 1925. All of the years as headcoach, only in the first year as co-headcoach. He also has a head coaching record with an overall of 57 – 15 – 1. He also won eight national championships.


As already mentioned, he was born on the 4th of August 1880 in Baltimore, Maryland. There he attended the high school at the Baltimore City College, which he completed in 1899. He received his undergraduate degree from the Johns Hopkins University and the Bachelor of Arts in 1902. During his time as a student at the Johns Hopkins University, he played as a defender in the lacrosse team and he was a member of the Beta Mu chapter of the Phi Gamma Delta. Later, in 1905, he returned to the university to study in the field of political economies and has played lacrosse for another year. In 1907 he graduated from the School of Law at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Lacrosse Career

Bill Schmeisser - Lacrosse careerIn 1902 his lacrosse career began as a team captain and co-coach alongside Ronald T. Abercrombie at the Johns Hopkins University. This season they won the National Championships of the Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (ILA). The following year, Bill Schmeisser then became the only headcoach and won another ILA championship. He returned to Johns Hopkins University as a headcoach from 1905 to 1909, but after this years he was still unable to leave it, and from 1923 to 1925 he took the job as headcoach for a third time, and with his team of the Johns Hopkins Universtiy from 1923 and 1924 he took the first place at the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) – Championship. Bill Schmeisser also played and co-organized the Mount Washington Lacrosse Club, a very successful Baltimore amateur team. As there was no professional league at this time, many former college lacrosse stars played in this team. They often participated in the exhibition games against the top intercollegiate programs and won most of the time.
In 1904, Schmeisser and Abercrombie wrote a book about Lacrosse: From Candidate to Team, a book that set the standard of sport for the next five years. He also promoted Lacrosse at the University of Maryland and at the Naval Academy.
In 1919 he contributed to the tradition of putting the flags with gold stars on the gate before the season kick-off. This was done for the first time to honor three former Hopkins players who were killed during the first World War. This tradition was then continued for the players who were killed in the Second World War and in Vietnam.
In 1928, the lacrosse team at Johns Hopkins University won a post-season tournament to present the US at a lacrosse exhibition event during the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. Schmeisser took part as an assistant coach. In 1937 he traveled to England with the all-star team. In 1941, just two months before his death, he organized a game between the undefeated Johns Hopkins Team and the undefeated Mount Washington Cub. The Blue Jays defeated their opponents with 7-6. Moreover Schmeisser was an official of the USILA for a very long time, as a member of the steering committee, chief judge and president. In 1957 US Lacrosse inducted him as one of the first players and coaches in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. In 1995, he was inducted in the Johns Hopkins University Athletic Hall of Fame, and the William C. Schmeisser Award is named after him, which is awarded to the most important defender of the NCAA Division I in Men Lacrosse.

Professional Life

Schmeisser was an attorney by trade. After completing his bachelor’s degree, he worked as a bank clerk and later as a lawyer. He then became a lawyer at Willis and Homer. Later he founded his own law firm and was a member of the American Bar Association, the Maryland State Bar Association and the Bar Association of Baltimore City. In addition, he had been on the board of the YMCA Baltimore Branch for sixteen years and president from 1938 to 1941. He married Isabel Wooldrige, with whom he got two children, a son and a daughter. On the July 1st 1941,
Bill Schmeisser died at the Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore after a month-long illness.

We hope we could give you many interesting and new lacrosse facts about Bill Schmeisser and his main role in lacrosse.

Leave a Reply