James Spencer Lentz

James Spencer Lentz, long-time football coach and the first director of the Outing Club at Bowdoin College, died on July 22, 2009, at Midcoast Hospital in Brunswick. He was born on April 5, 1927, in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, the son of John S. Lentz, Jr. and Dorothy B. Lentz. An outstanding athlete, he graduated from Upper Darby High School and the Perkiomen School. He served in the U.S. Army Special Service division in 1945 and 1946 and was stationed for a time in Austria. He played football and was a boxer during his military career. Jim enrolled at Gettysburg College following his military service and graduated in 1951 as an economics major, a member of the wrestling team, and as captain of the football team. He received a master of arts degree in health and physical education from Columbia University in 1957. Jim began his coaching career at Gettysburg College in 1952 as the coach of the freshman football team and the swimming team. In 1956 he became the line coach of the football team. In 1957 he went to Harvard University with head football coach John Yovicsin as an assistant coach and freshman lacrosse coach. He was the defensive coach of the football team from 1962-68, and he earned high praise from his players and his coaching colleagues for his leadership on and off the field. Jim came to Bowdoin as head coach of football and lacrosse in 1968. He was head coach of the lacrosse team for a single season but continued as JV coach for many years. I n his 16 years as head coach of football his teams won ten Colby-Bates-Bowdoin championships. The 1970 team was a single point away from an undefeated season, and Jim placed a close second in the voting for the United Press International’s New England Small College Coach of the Year Award. Jim stepped down from coaching football in 1984, but he continued to be involved in the physical education program at Bowdoin. He taught whitewater canoeing, cross-country skiing, fly tying, and fly fishing, drawing on a lifelong love of the outdoors and skills honed by decades of fishing and camping trips to West Forks in Maine. He proposed formal recognition of the Outing Club at Bowdoin in 1983 and he became its first director; it became the largest student organization on campus during his tenure. In the fall of 1984 Jim held the Outing Club’s first Leadership Training Program, which became a central part of the club’s mission. The Outing Club established the James S. Lentz Leadership Award to honor “…those students who over the course of their Bowdoin careers have exhibited the leadership qualities of sound judgment, dedication, concern for others, and composure in the face of adversity, which James Lentz, Bowdoin Outing Club director emeritus, worked to instill in the leadership of the BOC.” A large fieldstone hearth at the Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center was given in Jim’s honor by former players and friends from Bowdoin and Harvard. Jim was named Coordinator of Physical Education and the Outing Club Emeritus and an honorary member of the Bowdoin Alumni Association following his retirement in 1992. Jim is survived by his wife, Martha (Lindholm) Lentz, whom he married in 1969; a son, John B. Lentz and his partner Samantha Cook of Topsham, Maine; a daughter, Sara Perry and her husband Roger Perry of Georgetown, Main; etwo grandchildren, Elijah and Isabella; his brother Richard Lentz of Birdsboro Pennsylvania and numerous nieces and nephews. Gifts in Jim’s memory may be made to The Carpenter's Boatshop, 440 Old Country Road, Pemiquid, Maine 04558 or the environmental organization of your choice. A celebration of Jim's life will be held Sunday, August 9_at 2 pm at Whittier Field.