The third inductee into the 2007 Class of the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame is a man who was a key figure in building the success of the Philadelphia Wings franchise.
Mike French started his National Lacrosse League career as a player with Philadelphia Wings during the league's inaugural season in 1987 and has remained with the organization for each of its 20 seasons since. He entered the league as an alumnus of Cornell University where he was a three time All-American and College Player of the Year. He had also served as captain of the Canadian national team during its first world championship in 1978. French carried his previous success into the National Lacrosse League and lead the league with 14 goals in the league's inaugural season (six game season). After the 1987 season French retired from playing to tackle on an expanded role with the Wings organization.
Though his playing career in the league was brief, French has remained a prominent figure with the Wings. In 1988 he took over as General Manager and presided over the beginning of the Wings dynasty. In his seven seasons as GM, Philadelphia went 33-17 in the regular season and 7-2 in the postseason, and won three championships (1989, 1990 & 1994). His duties with the team during that time also included a brief coaching stint in 1994, and a role as team advisor.
Equally successful as a businessman, French ascended to the position of Co-Owner and Executive VP of the Wings in 1998, the first and only player in league history to own a significant piece of a league franchise.
As a leading team executive for the past nine years, French has served the league in several prominent roles, including as Chairman of the Expansion Committee. Since 2000, the league has expanded from eight to thirteen teams, and franchise values have increased dramatically.
Mike French, who now adds NLL Hall of Fame honors to his resume, is currently the only member of both the Canadian and US Lacrosse Halls of Fame.