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Sports

August 30, 2010

The Baron of Beverly

Walsh ushered in an era of greatness never before seen at Beverly High

(Continued)

Hired away from Abington High School prior to the 1944 season, Walsh's teams took the Garden City by storm. Over the next 15 years he won 95 games, lost only 34 and tied eight in capturing four league championships and two state runner-up titles. His .723 winning percentage is far and away the best in Beverly High football history.

"He turned Beverly High football around in a whole new direction," said Bill Hamor, who played for Walsh and later coached the Panthers to glory himself. "There were some good teams previously, but when Charlie came in he just turned everything around — for the better."

Winning was his business

The story involving Manuel didn't end with Walsh throwing him out of practice. The next day, the legendary coach spoke to his players before practice began.

"'Boys, before you put your uniforms on today, I want to know something'," Manuel recalls Walsh saying. "He then asked them all to vote whether to keep me on the team or not. It didn't matter that I was a starting halfback or a three-year player or anything. That's the way it was with Charlie; you didn't fool around."

"He ran a serious ship," added Sandy Kessaris, another of Walsh's star halfbacks from the 1950s. "He never smiled or anything; he was there to win football games and did that very well. He had a great assistant coach in Charlie Pelonzi who kidded around with us, but Coach Walsh was all business."

And business was good. Prior to his arrival, Beverly had just one winning season in its previous seven. In Walsh's decade-and-a-half reign, the team suffered just one losing campaign — and followed that up by going 8-1 and 8-0-1 the next two years.

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