SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

August 30, 2010

The Baron of Beverly

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

(Continued)

Five players from those teams — Gordon Reid, Mike Tomeo, John Ryan, Hamor and DiVincenzo — are in the Beverly High Athletic Hall of Fame. Some of their teammates such as Joe Hutchinson, Jimmy Gibbons, Joe Starks, Larry McConnell, Bob Fabri, Peter Cicchetti, George Gallagher and Leo Allen could one day join them there.

"It was fitting that that group of kids went unbeaten in Charlie's last season," said DiVincenzo. "He stayed with us and found a way to put the right pegs in the right holes." If the players had an inkling that 1958 would be his last season, Walsh never let on. Even on Thanksgiving Day, when Salem scored three quick touchdowns in the first half to take a 19-6 lead (before Beverly got two back to take a 20-19 edge into halftime), he never revealed his hand.

"He just talked at halftime about playing our best in the second half; he never brought (retirement) up," said DiVincenzo. "Charlie Pelonzi may have said something about it, but Coach Walsh never did.

"Of course, we went out and had quite a second half, beating them 47-19. So Coach Walsh went out on a good game."

The legend grows

Walsh finally retired from the sidelines before the 1959 season, handing over the reins to Roy Norden. He established his own great legacy, winning 87 games over 16 seasons as Walsh settled in as the Beverly High athletic director for another 16 years, finally retiring in 1974.

His legend and stature in town only grew as time went on, and when he died in 1992 at the age of 86, four generations of Beverly High players and fans felt an empty void with his passing.

"I think Charlie definitely could have coached today and been very successful," said DiVincenzo. "He'd have a lot more assistant coaches, that's for sure. But his personal approach to coaching and his ability to adapt would make him a great coach in any area. I truly believe that."

CHARLIE WALSH BY THE NUMBERS

2 — Unbeaten seasons at Beverly High (1948 and 1958)

95 — Wins at Beverly High, most in school history

.723 — Winning percentage at Beverly High, best in school history

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