By Gianna Addario
---- — IPSWICH — It was an honor for Holly Foster (Class of 1974) to graduate from Ipswich High as a pre-Title IX female athlete and then go on to coach both girls basketball and field hockey for nearly 15 years at her beloved alma mater.
Foster was MVP and co-captain on both her basketball and field hockey teams her senior year. She made tremendous contributions to the school as she and 12 other honorees became the newest members inducted into the Ipswich Athletic Hall of Fame last night.
“I’m humbled to have this experience at this point in my life,” said Foster last night at the Hellenic Center, where many people from the Ipswich community gathered for the school’s special event. “Ipswich his a small community with a big heart. It’s wonderful to see those who have supported us through all of the years here.”
Foster, who still resides in Ipswich and enjoys watching the superstars of today, was the only player/coach to be recognized at last night’s ceremony. She was joined by her son and daughter along with their significant others.
“It gives us the opportunity to have our families here with us,” added Foster. “I had mentors who opened doors for me and then I felt the need to give back all that was given to me, and decided to coach. All of the young girls that I coached made me proud and have gone on to be incredible women.”
In 1995 Foster’s girls basketball team earned a Division 4 state championship title, while her field hockey teams won several Cape Ann League titles over the years.
Ellen Galanis Nich (Class of 1977) was also among those honored last night. As a standout basketball player and two-time Salem News all-star, she was the first female athlete at Ipswich to receive a four-year athletic scholarship to play at the collegiate level. She also earned team MVP honors in softball and went on to play basketball at Bentley College.
“Growing up, sports were such a big part of my life because I had two older brothers who played,” said Nich. “My brother John ‘Bubba’ Galanis went to Notre Dame on a football scholarship, so I always looked up to him. I always tried to reach the bar that they set for me, so it was a lot of fun growing up.”
Newly appointed girls basketball coach Dot Stanley also got inducted into the HOF Class of 2013. Stanley transferred to Ipswich after her sophomore year at Malden High. Stanley, who graduated from Ipswich in 1981, was an All-Scholastic player in both basketball and softball. She was team MVP in both sports and earned CAL All-League honors, while her basketball team won a state championship in 1980.
After high school, Stanley went on to play basketball and softball at Becker College, where she was named to the All New England First Team in both sports.
“This is amazing, it’s something you’d never think would happen,” noted Stanley. “I have wonderful stories and memories from my two years at Ipswich. I went from a class of 500 in Malden to a class of a little more than 100 at Ipswich, where everyone welcomed me. I’m honored beyond belief and I’m excited to coach basketball.”
The other 10 inductees included five athletes, Megan Frederick (Class of 2002), Carl Mattarocchia (1970), Peter Pickul (‘60), Greg Smith (‘83) and Cameron Wallace (‘60); three coaches, Frances Cogswell (1942-60), Robert Conary (1921-1942) and Rick Storer (1970-2010); and two meritorious recipients, Chester Bowen Jr. and John Stella.