Tom Lawson spent 30 years as a coach and an administrator at Middlebury and was instrumental in the advancement of women’s athletics. He arrived at Middlebury in the fall of 1969 as the men’s soccer coach, then became the men’s basketball coach in his second year. His soccer teams earned a 49-26-8 mark in eight years, including a 9-0-1 team in 1972 and an 11-1 squad in 1973. They reached the NCAA Tournament in 1970 and the ECAC Quarterfinals in 1973. Following the 1972 season, he was named the New England Coach of the Year in the University Division. Lawson won more than 100 games as the men’s basketball coach, as his 1974–75 Panthers won a then-school-record 17 games (17-8) and earned Middlebury’s first postseason bid, finishing third in the ECAC Tournament.
Lawson spent 20 years as Middlebury’s director of athletics, adding seven women’s intercollegiate sports during his tenure, while significantly increasing participation numbers. He was a visionary when it came to facilities, as the school added new football, field hockey, soccer, ice hockey, swimming, lacrosse, and track and field venues during his tenure.
Lawson was named to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, received the ECAC’s highest honor, the James Lynah Award for distinguished achievement, in 2007, and was inducted into the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.