SCHENECTADY — After a coaching career that spanned decades and closed with a 13-year run leading the Union College men’s lacrosse program, the school announced Tuesday in a press release that Paul Wehrum is retiring.
“The 13 years spent at Union have been some of the greatest years of my life,” Wehrum said in the press release. “My daughter went here, my godson went here and it's been a great run, but it's time. I want to enjoy my years of healthy living with my wife and we are going to enjoy it together. It was a family decision, not just mine.”
No immediate successor for Wehrum was named in Union’s press release.
A legendary figure in college lacrosse, Wehrum enjoyed a hall-of-fame coaching career before he arrived at Union and became the Dutchmen’s all-time winningest head coach. A member of several halls of fame, including the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Wehrum won eight NJCAA championships during his time leading the Herkimer County Community College men’s program from 1980 to 2003, a span in which his teams went 403-62. After leading Herkimer’s men’s program, Wehrum also started and coached the school’s women’s program.
At Union, Wehrum’s teams went 138-74 and appeared in five NCAA tournament berths. Wehrum’s 2011 team won Union’s first-ever Liberty League championship and made the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance. Wehrum led Union to a 14-4 record in his final season at the helm, one win shy of the program-record 15 wins his 2014 team achieved.
In all, Union’s six-highest single-season win totals were recorded with Wehrum leading the Dutchmen. Wehrum’s 138 wins at Union rank first for a coach, and his .651 winning percentage is the highest for any coach in program history who coached more than one season.
"Paul is such a legendary figure in college lacrosse and I thank him for his many years of service to Union athletics and the college as a whole," Union athletic director Jim McLaughlin said in the school’s release. "He has been the driving force in returning Union lacrosse to national prominence and we are so grateful for his time on campus. But so much more than wins and losses, Paul has built a program with outstanding young men who achieve in the classroom and in the community as well. The effect he has had on the team and our department cannot be understated and will be greatly missed.”
Wehrum, a 1972 SUNY Cortland graduate, was a three-time All-American first-team selection as a college lacrosse athlete. Wehrum still holds Cortland's single-game scoring record with 10 goals, which he scored in a 1970 game against Brockport.