Akron East High School was the place where Ski Lawler honed his athletic skills in both football and his favorite sport baseball. His outstanding performance on the gridiron and the ball field earned his induction into the East High Hall of Fame.
Upon his graduation in 1963, he enlisted in the U.S Army. After infantry basic training, his first assignment sent him overseas to Hawaii where he spent his entire three year commitment. He had thoughts of reenlisting, however the scuttlebutt was his unit was headed for Vietnam which was heating up at the time and he chose to return to civilian life. He considers it one of the best decisions of his life.
After his discharge, Lawler went to work for Goodyear Aerospace where his athletic prowess in the company’s recreational league earned him the Litchfield Award for Athlete of the Year in 1971. His interest in athletics led to a position with the Urban League as its recreation director, a position he held for ten years before leaving for Akron Children’s Hospital. He is looking forward to next year when he will retire after 31 years at the hospital.
Ski’s interest in athletics led him to become a basketball official and for two decades was one of the tops in the area. Ten times he was selected by the Ohio High School Athletic Association to officiate the state basketball championship. One of his officiating highlights was being on the floor at LeBron James’ first television appearance on ESPN in his senior year.
During these years, he also became active in senior competitions. Playing shortstop or third base for the Ohio Lone Stars, a traveling senior softball team, he garnered numerous all state and all tournament awards. Ski was twice named Senior World Series most valuable player. Knee surgery has slowed him up slightly, however he continues to compete in the Senior’s Silver League in the 60-65 age bracket. Ski will be heading to Phoenix, Arizona this month for another appearance in the Senior World Series. For his skills on the diamond, he was inducted into the Akron Softball Hall of Fame.
William "Ski" Lawler received the Phil Dietrich Senior Athlete Award in 2012.