FEATURE: Lazor, inspiring on and off sidelines, dies

Max Petrunya

The illustrious history of Villanova athletics would be incomplete without recognition of the Rev. Bernard A. Lazor, O.S.A., and his contributions to the men’s football and basketball teams. Starting as football team chaplain in 1976 and becoming men’s basketball team chaplain two years later in 1978, Lazor was the spiritual leader during some of the biggest moments in both teams’ histories. Lazor, was with the basketball team in 1985 when they won the NCAA title and with the football team in 1997 when they went undefeated. Lazor will long be remembered for his work in the classroom as a teacher and in the athletic department as a spiritual guide.

Lazor died on Jan. 14 at the age of 81. Born on Feb. 5, 1925 in Mahanoy City, Pa., he received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Villanova in 1948. After graduating from Villanova he began his theological studies at Augustinian College in Washington, D.C., where he was educated from 1948 to 1951 before finishing his studies in Rome from 1951 to 1952. Ordained to the priesthood on June 5, 1951, he remained in Rome for five years and then returned to the States to teach at Augustinian College, where he stayed until 1971.

In late 1971, Lazor came to the St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery at his alma mater where he worked until his retirement in the year 2006.

Lazor was well respected by the Villanova and surrounding communities. Students, faculty, staff and coaches have been thinking about his life and legacy.

“Father Lazor was an icon both on the sideline and in the classroom, and his passion ran deep in both,” said the Rev. Donald F. Reilly, O.S.A., Prior Provincial of the Augustinians. “This passion – this energy – was fueled by his love of the Word of God and his desire to share it with others.”

“Father Lazor was one of my favorite professors here at Villanova,” senior Emmett Fitzpatrick said. “His spiritual knowledge and teaching ability combined to provide a truly great Augustinian education at our Catholic institution.”

Villanova athletics may feel the greatest loss.

“Father Lazor did a wonderful job with our football program over the years as the team’s chaplain,” Head Coach Andy Talley said. “He was a great inspiration and a great source of motivation for both our staff and players. We will miss him greatly.”