By Jim Sullivan
---- — AMESBURY — After two years of planning, the first class of the Amesbury High School Athletic Hall of Fame has been selected and committee chairman Sam Wilmot couldn’t be happier about it.
“We are just so excited,” Wilmot says of his fellow committee members. “It’s something that we’ve wanted to see done for a long time.”
An AHS class of 1977 grad, Wilmot played baseball, basketball and football and has been pushing the idea for the past two years of an AHS Athletic Hall of Fame that will honor athletes, contributors and coaches, using a combination of a Facebook page and word of mouth. Eventually he was able to put together a committee and the Hall will become a reality in September.
“I’m just the one who’s been carrying the pail,” says Wilmot. “(Others) tried to do it about seven or eight years ago and it just fell by the wayside for some reason. I just decided that it had to be done and I kept working at it, working at it and apparently I asked the right people to help.”
Nine Indians will be part of the first class, including legendary football coach Tony Tassinari, who is the all-time winningest coach in AHS football history, leading his team to 30 wins in a row from 1949-1952.
A holder of eight varsity letters, Nancy Klein (’77) was also named All-Scholastic in field hockey and softball and also played basketball.
Considered to be one of the best athletes to come out of Amesbury, Jerry Mondalto (’72) received 12 varsity letters and was named All-Scholastic in football and baseball. Mondalto also had his football jersey (22) retired and went on to become the all-time winningest coach in Indians’ baseball history.
Also having his football jersey (33) retired, Tino Bertolini (’53) is thought by many to be one of the best linemen in AHS history and was captain of both the baseball and football teams.
A holder of 10 varsity letters, Joe Desroches (’83) was outstanding in football, basketball and track, where he still holds school records.
A legend in the world of field hockey, Kristy Gleason (’89) is considered to be the best female athlete ever to attend AHS. Receiving 10 varsity letters, Gleason was named All-Scholastic and All-America in softball and field hockey multiple times and is the all-time leading scorer in Amesbury field hockey.
Gleason’s aunt, Pam Gleason Holt (’82), was the all-time leading scorer in field hockey until her niece broke her record. A four-year starter in softball, Holt was also the first girl in Massachusetts history to play boys ice hockey and was named All-Scholastic in field hockey and softball as well.
Amesbury’s all-time winningest coach in hockey, Leo Dupere (’58), also coached baseball and received eight varsity letters out of nine chances when he was a player.
Larry Moran Jr. (‘51) was a three-sport star, scoring 138 points in his football career and had eight varsity letters of his own.
The honorees will be inducted at a luncheon on Thursday, Sept. 19, followed by an official ceremony at the high school auditorium that evening at 6:30. The inductees will also be introduced at the football game the following night. Tickets for the luncheon are limited.
The committee members are Gail Kelleher, Steve Bastein, Cathy Mamokos, Bill Burnham, Dave Bailey, Dick Peeke, Wilmot, Tim Hoyt and Dave Randall.
“I’m a proud Amesbury Indian,” says Wilmot, who also thanks the Provident Bank’s executive chairman Charlie Cullen for being so supportive. “When this actually happens, it’s going to be pretty emotional and to have played a small role in this is a real honor to me.”