CARRIER MILLS -- The late Lawrence William Cofield is the latest Carrier Mills-Stonefort High School Distinguished Alumnus to be recognized.
He was honored as part of CMSF High School's Wall of Fame Ceremony on May 5.
Cofield was born on Sept. 21, 1939. He graduated from CMSF High School in 1957 and went on to play college basketball at Casper Junior College in Casper, Wyoming and at McKendree University in Lebanon. Cofield graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education, and was later inducted into the McKendree University Sports Hall of Fame.
After graduating from McKendree, he went on to earn a master's degree in Physical Education from the University of Kentucky.
Cofield began his coaching career at H.E. Davis Jr. High School in Cleveland. Two years later, he was named the assistant coach of the East Technical High School basketball team, where the 1965-1966 team went 20-1.
He began his college coaching career at Kentucky State University, where he spent one year as an assistant coach before being named the head coach at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania.
In his two years as head coach, his team won two consecutive conference championships. Later, he moved to Prairie View A&M University in Texas, where he coached basketball for four years.
In 1973, Cofield became the nation's first African American athletic director and head coach at the College of Racine. From there, he became an assistant coach at the University of Virginia. In 1976, he became the first African American head basketball coach in the Big Ten Conference when he was named coach of the Wisconsin Badgers. He resigned from his position in 1982, and was later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He passed away on June 20, 1983, at the age of 43.
Present to accept the award on his behalf was his son, the Rev. Clay Cofield, along with several family members and friends.