SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

September 2, 2010

Living Legend

Welch became an Ipswich institution in his 37 years on sidelines

(Continued)

The next year, 1993, was Welch's last CAL title (9-1); he retired seven years later following a Thanksgiving Day loss to Hamilton-Wenham.

Reflective mood

Since his retirement, Jack and Sandy have travelled the globe. They went to Switzerland on their 50th wedding anniversary two years ago, and spent three weeks in China. They've also been to Ireland twice, Italy, Australia, Portugal and France, where Welch realized a dream by visiting Normandy.

They've also spent time seeing different parts of their own country. During one such trip out West to visit the national parks, Welch found himself talking to a man at Yellowstone National Park. He asked what Welch did for a living, and after telling him the man asked him who his best player ever was.

"I figured I was out in Montana, and who's going to know the difference out here?" said Welch. "So I told him, Peter Gorniewicz (a star from 1968-70) was our best ever two-way player.

"The guy tells me, 'That's a good answer. Because that woman standing over there? That's Peter's aunt!'"

In truth, Welch always valued those special players — the Gorniewiczs, the Budzinskis, the Carl Mattarocchias, the Bubba Galanises and Jeff Vitales — tough, talented players who gave every drop of themselves to making the football program at Ipswich as strong as possible.

Five of his former players — Woodworth (Ipswich boys basketball), Foster (Ipswich boys lacrosse), Ted Flaherty (Ipswich football), Rollie Hinckley (Georgetown football) and Roger Day (Danvers baseball) — went on to coach state championship teams of their own.

Last Thanksgiving, the football field at Ipswich High School was officially christened Jack Welch Stadium. And earlier this year, it was announced that Welch would be inducted into Ipswich High's inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame class this November.

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