By Jim Sullivan
---- — For Amesbury native Sam Wilmot, starting an Athletic Hall of Fame at his alma mater has been a labor of love that he hopes is about to bear fruit as well as answer some questions people never knew they had.
“You may have been unaware that your father or your grandfather or even your grandmother was a terrific athlete,” said Wilmot, an Amesbury High graduate in 1977. “And that’s why we need people to step up and give us this information.”
The information Wilmot is looking for are nominations for Hall inductees. Wilmot started the Hall ball rolling two years ago, planting notices in local papers. He now has a nine-member committee of himself, current AHS teacher Cathy Mamokos, former AHS teachers Dave Bailey and Gail Kelleher, 50-year AHS graduate Dick Peeke, Steve Bastein, Tim Hoyt, Bill Burnham and the Provident Bank’s Dave Randall (‘72), who ran cross country and track for the Indians.
“It’s very exciting,” said Randall. “The stories that you hear (are great). It’s going to be great to recognize some deserving men and women who attended Amesbury High School — or who supported or coached sports. It’s been fun to sit back and hear some of the stories of athletes before my time.”
“These people have worked very hard and have been very dedicated to get this going,” Wilmot said of his fellow committee members. “They are the people who stepped up and wanted to help. I talked to a lot of people I thought might be interested. A couple of them were, a couple of them were not. Hopefully we can get it up and running.”
The committee has been hard at work of late, sorting out the 65 nominations it currently has. But the members want to get the word out one more time before the first deadline, May 1.
“You don’t have to be from Amesbury to nominate somebody,” said Wilmot. “So, somebody from California can make a nomination. Just show why someone deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and once they get nominated, if they don’t get in the first year, that doesn’t mean that you have to re-nominate them. Once they are nominated, it will stay on file. Just make out the application, it’s pretty simple and there are three categories: coaches, players, and contributors.”
The committee expects to induct 10 athletes in the first year, then drop down to three to five a year after that. Every school has its great athletes and great moments, and Amesbury is no different.
“At one time, Amesbury had the longest winning streak in the state of Massachusetts in football,” said the proud Wilmot of the Amesbury football program in 1940s and 50s under coach Tony Tassinari. “They went 33 in a row. They were like Brockton, they had to find people to play them.”
But, as with all high schools, records can be spotty, and the committee is looking for help in that area as well.
“Unfortunately, there are not a lot of women’s records,” said Wilmot. “So we need to count on their coaches to get us their records. One (standout) obvious is Kristy Gleason. Kristy is an incredible athlete, and most people will tell you that she was one of the best athletes in our history.”
Applications are available at the AHS website under the athletic department, and Wilmot asks that people friend him on Facebook for more information.
An awards ceremony will be held sometime in late September/early October once the first 10 inductees are named. The committee also plans to honor each inductee with a plaque outside of the AHS gym and plans to make a full presentation to the Indian faithful during a home football game this fall.