April 10, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - The UConn Club will present its Red O'Neill Award to the Honorable Lynn R. Kotler, '83, '85, a former Husky field hockey standout, when the group holds its 59th Annual Awards Dinner on Monday, April 16 at Gampel Pavilion.
The Red O'Neill Award is given annual to former UConn student-athletes who have gone from the fields and courts of play to distinguish themselves in their chosen careers.
As an elite-level collegiate student-athlete during her undergraduate years at Connecticut, and as a highly-respected attorney and judge in her professional career, Kotler's career path has been an outstanding success story.
After earning her bachelor's degree in education from UConn in 1983, Kotler served as an assistant coach at UConn in the field hockey program while earning a master's in education. Kotler was a member of the Hofstra University athletic staff in 1985 and 1986, serving as head coach of field hockey and lacrosse, before turning her attention to earning her law degree.
Kotler earned her law degree in 1991 from the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in New York and practiced law for 17 years in both small firms and as a solo practitioner, maintaining a general civil litigation practice that focused on matrimonial and family law, real estate, wills and estates and personal injury.
She regularly represented clients from different walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds. Her practice always included a pro bono component, to help those who would otherwise be unable to afford legal services. Kotler spent over a decade volunteering as an arbitrator for both the New York City Small Claims Court and the Better Business Bureau, where she heard and settled cases.
She was also a Special Master in the Supreme Court, New York County where she worked closely with lawyers and litigants in preparing discovery orders, conducting conferences and facilitating settlement conferences.
Kotler has been a judge in the Manhattan Criminal Court since 2010. She was elected to the Civil Court bench in November of 2009 and has been assigned to Criminal Court in both the Bronx and Manhattan.
A product of East Northport, N.Y., Kotler played a pivotal role as the starting goal keeper and was named the all-tournament goalie at the 1981 NCAA national semifinals and finals when the Husky field hockey program earned for UConn its first NCAA National Championship - men or women.
That national championship achievement (a 4-1 victory over previously unbeaten Massachusetts) was especially unique because UConn became the first NCAA women's national champion in any sport. The NCAA brought women's varsity programs under its championship umbrella in the fall of 1981 and UConn would win the first NCAA title as the 1981 national semifinals and finals were staged at Memorial Stadium in Storrs.
Connecticut followed its 1981 success with a return visit to the national championship game in 1982 before settling for the No. 2 spot in the country.
Kotler would complete her superb collegiate career by being named a First Team All-American and the nation's top goalie in the fall of 1982. In her three varsity seasons as UConn's field hockey starting goalie, Kotler posted an overall record in net of 41-7-4, including a then school record 26 shutouts.
At the conclusion of her college playing days, Kotler was honored by The UConn Club as a recipient of its Outstanding Senior Athlete Award and she also received a University of Connecticut Medallion, recognizing both athletic and academic achievements.