By Ryan Massad, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Sometimes, it is nice to reflect. Especially when you can reflect on 23 years of steering the ship for the Algonquin football team.
Dick Walsh first started coaching at the high school in Northborough in 1957, when it was known as “Northborough High School.”
“I remember there were nine boys in the graduating class when I first took over,” he said.
A few years later, the school became Algonquin Regional. Merging his team with the Southborough kids gave Walsh the depth he needed to build a competitive squad.
Walsh himself was a pretty good football player while attending Boston Latin School, but when it was time to decide what sport he would dedicate his time to in college, he chose baseball. Walsh was recruited to play for the Boston University Terriers. He played four years, and graduated in 1953.
Dick frequently went back to Boston Latin to visit old teachers and coaches. His athletic career, and overall school involvement, eventually earned him a place in Boston Latin School's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Coaching success came for Walsh in the late 60's, as the Algonquin football team started to gel. The roster grew bigger, due to more students wanting to play for him. The talent grew stronger, and stronger, to the point where the Tomahawks were a legitimate Super Bowl threat.
In 1971, Walsh was appointed to be the athletic director at Algonquin, along with his coaching responsibilities. The school committee was impressed with how well he had handled the football team, and wanted him to be involved in every sport in which the school participated.
During his 23-year career, he won more than 130 games, and his Tomahawks made a pair of Super Bowl appearances, both against East Longmeadow, in 1973 and 1976. Walsh referenced the 1973 team as his most memorable squad. After losing three straight Thanksgiving games against rival Westborough High, the Tomahawks finally got a win and went on to be the Super Bowl champs in “73.
Walsh still attends every single Algonquin home game. The contests are played at the appropriately named Dick Walsh Field. The field was dedicated to him during halftime of a Thanksgiving game in the late 90's.
When asked how special that was, Walsh responded, “They didn's have to do that. I know what my name is.”
Between all the hugs, hellos, and photographs, he continues to be a busy man on Friday nights.
“The game has changed a lot,” he said, “but there's still a great group of kids on the team. It's great kids, hard-working kids, that kept me going all those years.”
When asked if he had any advice for new Algonquin coach Justin McKay, Walsh said, “Score more points than the other team.”