Byline: Jim Wilson
COLUMN: HIGH SCHOOLS
For the past 30 years, Clinton's Bernie Gaughan has given much to the area sports community, and on Saturday the legendary coach will finally be rewarded.
Gaughan will be the latest induction to the Massachusetts High School Baseball Coaches Association (MBCA) Hall of Fame at 6 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in Westboro.
"It was a tremendous surprise," Gaughan said. "I never gave it a thought in my lifetime."
After two seasons coaching at Compton (R.I.) High School, Gaughan moved on to coach track at Clinton in 1965. In 1979, he took over the baseball and girls' basketball teams and has been a local fixture ever since, amassing a 366-199 record on the diamond.
The award is the latest in Gaughan's trophy case, joining the Worcester Area Baseball Umpires Award, the 1993 MBCA Award, the Midland-Wachusett League Coach of the Year trophy and numerous Mid-Wach team sportsmanship awards.
"Bernie exemplifies the very best qualities of a high school coach," Clinton athletic director John Gibbons said. "He is a person of integrity, a fine gentleman, a good sport in victory as well as defeat, an excellent teacher and an individual who puts the interests of his teams before any personal accomplishments."
Gaughan was the director of physical education at Clinton and Gibbons was one of the many students who learned quite a bit from him.
"He's been a real joy to work with throughout the years," Gibbons said. "I never have to worry about him. He does everything and more one could ever wish for in a coach."
Gaughan said he has been thinking about his past teams as the big day approaches.
"I looked up a couple of kids from my first game," Gaughan said. "I told them how much I appreciated how much they bought into our program."
The Gaels won the Division 2 state title in 1993 with a 25-1 record. Clinton defeated East Bridgewater, 6-5, in the bottom of the seventh inning at Fitton Field after Gary Lamein reached on a bases-loaded error with one out that scored Jon Lent. Kevin Coleman earned the win with three solid innings in relief of Gregg Henebry and added a run when he scored on Brian Bonin's single in the sixth inning to make it 5-4.
Gaughan has the Clinton girls' basketball team sporting a 9-4 record this winter and said he has no plans to slow down. He's just enjoying himself too much.
"You certainly aren't going to get rich the time you put in sports," Gaughan said. "The monetary reward isn't there, but the other...