By Jim Sullivan
---- — When Groveland’s David Fudge was asked to be the president of the Pentucket Athletic Association three years ago, he didn’t need very long to answer.
“I’ve always been interested in giving back to the community,” said Fudge, who is retiring after this school year. “I think that is what we should all do. It’s a small community at Pentucket; it’s a proud community, so I wanted to get involved.”
The father of three sons, one of whom graduated in 2012 and one who is currently a Sachem, Fudge has been haunting one athletic field after the other for the past 20 years, coaching Little League, youth soccer and Pentucket youth basketball. Fudge’s predecessor, Larry Fisher, saw something in his nature and asked if he would be willing to take over the PAA presidency in June of 2010. No sooner did Fudge agree than he started his first fundraiser, the Pentucket Pride 5K Road Race.
“I brought much more of a business approach to it,” said Fudge, a quality engineer at the Draper Labs at MIT. “I wanted to put a strategic plan together. What can we do in the next year? Where can we be five years from now? Where do we want to be 10 years from now? So we need to start laying some stones here and building a better foundation for a better PAA. We can always continue to improve our product, and our product is pride.”
An avid runner with eight marathons under his belt, Fudge began with road races, both directly for the PAA and in conjunction with others. He also started a comedy night, bringing in Boston comedians every spring.
“I always said this to my Little League guys: ‘Little things make big things happen,’” said Fudge. “So if we can do little things, if we can do a road race to make some money there, we can push that down to the athletes.”
The PAA also consolidated all of the 19 Sachem teams together and brought their combined assets from $14,000 to $46,000.
“I’m very proactive in my approach,” said Fudge. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease. And I’ll use Superintendent Dr. Jeff Mulqueen’s quote here: ‘If you want world-class facilities, in a world-class Pentucket, then you have to be proactive.’ You can’t sit idle or nothing is going to happen. And I will be that guy. I don’t have a problem being that guy.”
The PAA also brought new championship banners to the school, a new outdoor scoreboard, a patio and walkway. Two new scoreboards in the gymnasium were installed under Fudge’s watch and the wrestling team now enjoys the use of new mats. The PAA was also able to foster a relationship with car dealer Gary Jaffarian, becoming a part of his company’s GAME ON program, which resulted in a $5,000 donation.
“We have the money,” said Fudge. “We’ve raised the money with all these road races and these comedy nights, and we put that directly back into the facilities. That’s all PAA money. We’ve given over $85,000 over the past four years to Pentucket. People don’t realize how much we’ve given and that includes uniforms, practice jerseys, helmets, a new tent for the cross-country team.”
Any parent whose kid is a Pentucket athlete is a PAA member, but active members average around 20-25 with a core of 15 volunteers. Those volunteers include communications director Kathy Porter, treasurer Monique Swansen, volunteer Sean Brennan and Pentucket athletic director Dan Thornton. Fudge said he couldn’t live without those workers. Fudge also said that he would have liked to have built a better relationship between the PAA and both the Pentucket Education and Arts Foundations.
“We have the same job,” Fudge said of the three Pentucket organizations. “We’re all chasing the same money. So how can we communicate better? And I think we are on the road to doing that.”
Another project Fudge would like to see tackled is improving the hallway in front of the gym.
“I just want to get people inspired,” said Fudge. “Let’s go, let’s get this done, and how are we going to do it?”
Fudge has met with several people who are interested in taking over the presidency once he is gone. No one has been chosen for the position yet, but he is confident the right man or woman will take the job.
“My parents always told me, if you surround yourself with good people, good things will happen,” said Fudge.