STONEHAM, Mass. -- It was a grand night for the Mass. State Hockey Coaches Association (MSHCA). The well-established organization inducted four head coaches into its Hall of Fame, Sunday evening.
Before a capacity crowd inside Montvale Plaza filled with past and present coaches, family and friends, Mike Nanartowich (Hudson), Brian Murphy (St. John's of Shrewsbury), Dan Mark (Stoughton) and John Maguire (Waltham) became the latest members of the fraternity. Combined, the four coaches have spent a total of 112 years behind the bench.
Also inducted was Arlington Catholic long-time assistant coach Jim Hunt. Coach of the Year accolades went to John Devany (St. Joseph's Prep) in the boys’ category while Arlington Catholic's Maggie Taverna received the honor as girls’ coach. Tim Hooton was given the Brian “Trooper” Sullivan award for officials and UMass-Dartmouth coach John Rolli was awarded the William J. Stewart, Jr. Award for outstanding service and contribution to Massachusetts Secondary Schoolboy hockey.
Included in the festivities, the MSHCA recognized six high school players for their athletic and academic excellence. They included, Luke Amato (Arlington Catholic), Ian Lapham (Reading), Kevin Dober (Newton South), Alex Tepper (Nashoba Regional), Ryan McKennedy (Lowell) and Colin MacDonald (Marshfield).
“All of these student-athlete's academic distinctions are off the charts,” said former Lincoln-Sudbury coach and 2010 inductee Dan Doyle.
MSHCA secretary and 2003 inductee Charlie Driscoll, who spent 16 season guiding Medford as well as stints at Archbishop Williams, Malden Catholic, Wakefield and Reading, served as emcee.
Nanartowich, who won a Division 3 state title in 2012, was introduced by former Marlborough coach and 2012 inductee John Butler along with 20-year assistant coach Mike Correa.
“Mike Nanartowich was one who was always prepared for every game he coached,” Butler said. “He helped bring a lot of credibility and entusiasm to Central Mass. Hockey. Mike has always been a student of the game and is always looking to learn new things constantly.”
Added Correa, "Mike wrote the script on how to run a successful hockey team," he said. "Players at Hudson have succeeded because they had a meaningful relationship with their head coach.”
Nanartowich, who was named Mass. State High School Coach of the Year in 2012, expressed humility of the honor bestowed on to him.
“I think the best word that describes what hockey means to me and what Hudson High School means to me is the word blessed. I've been blessed with great players and great assistant coaches. For me, it's not about numbers, it's about the players.”
Murphy, who stepped down as Pioneers coach at the end of the 2013 season, having earned seven Super 8 appearances along the way, was introduced by former Shrewsbury coach and Class of 2004 member Phil Irving.
“To be here, it takes a tremendous amount of support from a large number of people over a long period of time,” Murphy said. “I had a wonderful experience coaching at St. John's and enjoyed every minute of it. As any coach will admit, you are only as good as your players so I would be remissed if I didn't offer my sincerest thanks to all of my players over the years.”
Former Bridgewater State coach Bob Carpenter spoke on behalf of Mark, who served as a team captain under Carpenter his senior year there.
Mark offered a special thank you to former Stoughton coach Jim Gormley, who coached Mark for four seasons at the varsity level and later brought him on as an assistant coach.
“Probably the biggest influence of my life is Jim Gormley,” said Mark. “I cannot thank him enough for everything he taught me. I really want to thank MSHCA for inducting me. When I look at the number of people inducted into this Hall of Fame it's pretty over-whelming and now my name will be there with theirs and is greatly-appreciated.”
Doyle introduced Maguire and began saying, “Coach Maguire's moral compass is always in order yet he is his own man. His teams have always achieved above the level of their talents because John coaches them the right way.”
Maguire, who is closing in on 350 victories with the Hawks and took home a Division 1 state title in 2002, had nearly half of the banquet hall filled with family and friends in recognition of his honor.
“In my first three years the Hawks were 3-15 three years in a row and I remember our mailbox being run over by a disgruntled player,” laughed Maguire. “I am certainly humbled by this introduction.”
The event ended with the news that Marshfield coach Dan Connolly will be stepping down as MSHCA president this year.
“It has been extremely humbling being president of this organization,” Connolly said. “As coaches, we don't coach for the money, but for the love of the game and the kids.”