Jan. 23, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--Former University of New Mexico standout Ben Ashwill passed away late Thursday night as the result of a three-vehicle crash in east-central New Mexico at the age of 26. Ashwill played for the Lobos from 2002-2005 and took the field as both a forward and a defender. He was a vital player on the fondly remembered 2005 squad that raced through the NCAA Championship bracket and advanced to the College Cup for the first time in Lobo history.
The memorial service for Ben will be held on Wednesday, January 27th at 10 a.m. at St. John's United Methodist Church on 2626 Arizona Street NE, Albuquerque, N.M. (one block east of the intersection of San Pedro and Menaul). A reception will immediately follow the service.
Ashwill was a four-time all-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation selection and had been the only three-time Academic All-American in school history until 2009. He earned Academic All-District and Academic All-MPSF nods three times as well. Ashwill was named a Freshman All-American in 2002 after leading the Lobos and the MPSF in scoring with 12 goals and three assists for 27 points.
Lobo head coach Jeremy Fishbein told the Albuquerque Journal that a switch in position, from forward to defender, between Ashwill's sophomore and junior seasons exemplified his unselfishness and team-first attitude.
"We felt [the move] was best for the team," Fishbein said to the Journal. "There was never any hesitation on his part. I think it's always difficult to go from being a marquee guy who was a big goal scorer to be in a position that wasn't always acknowledged as much. But he was instrumental in all the success those teams had. ...He was a really good friend to everybody, and always cared about people."
Ashwill also played for the renowned Classic Bandidos club team that was a seven-time state champion. The Bandidos were 2001 and 2002 Far West Region champs, and were ranked third in the nation in 2001. Ashwill was a member of New Mexico's Olympic Development Team from 1991-2001.
Ashwill started 70 games out of 83 games played at New Mexico. He had 19 goals and nine assists for 47 career points with the Lobos.