Walter Alessi has enjoyed a legendary career at MIT, collecting numerous postseason honors since beginning his Tech voyage in 1975. A 10-time conference Coach of the Year, his most recent selection came at the conclusion of the 2016 season. With a 278-281 record in tote, Alessi ranks first all-time in wins at the Institute by a substantial margin.
The 1995 New England Division III Coach of the Year, Alessi received the Howdy Myers Man of the Year Award from the Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coach Association in 2013. He was named the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) Man of the Year in 2007 for his outstanding years of service. Since then, the honor was renamed “The Alessi Award” and is given out annually at the NEILA East-West All-Star Game. Alessi was elected to the Hall of Fame of the Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the Lacrosse Foundation in 1999 and was the inaugural recipient of the Vincent Lobello Sportsmanship Award in 1980. He was also a finalist for the USILA Coach of the Year award the same season. In 1977, MIT won the Marster’s Award as the most improved team in New England.
Alessi received a Bachelor’s of Science in physical education from the University of Massachusetts in 1968 and went on to earn Master’s degrees in education from Rhode Island College and University of Massachusetts-Boston. He started his coaching career at Rogers High School and St. George’s School in Middletown, R.I. Upon departing St. George’s, the school named its lacrosse most valuable player award in Alessi’s honor. From 1973-75, he taught and coached at Westwood (Mass.) High School, where he started the lacrosse program on a club basis.
Alessi is currently a member of the ECAC Division III Tournament selection committee. He previously served as the president and then the secretary/treasurer of the NEILA, participated on the New England rating board, and chaired the East-West All-Star Game.
In addition to guiding the men’s lacrosse program, Alessi served as the head coach of MIT’s men’s soccer team from 1975 to 2006. The 2002 and 2003 NEWMAC Coach of the Year, his 204-252-30 record places him high atop the Institute's record books in terms of career wins and longevity. In 2003, he led the Engineers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance where they advanced to the quarterfinals and finished eighth in the national rankings. Alessi was named the New England Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and was a finalist for National Coach of the Year honors.