Six Inducted into RHS Athletic Hall of Fame
Oct. 26, 2019
On Saturday, Oct. 26, six new members were added to the Rockland High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Athletic Director Gary Graziano hosted the dinner and induction ceremony that was held at the Rockland Golf Course.
The inductees included: Fran Cook, Class of 1951 for track and cross country; Kevin Klier, Class of 1978 for golf; Peter Foster, Class of 1979 for basketball; Jeffrey Phelps, Class of 1986, for football; Tom Ryan, Class of 1997 for football, and Courtney Burns, Class of 2009, for basketball.
Each inductee was introduced by a former coach, teammate or sibling.
Kenny Klier who introduced his brother Kevin described Kevin’s dedication to golf and his success in high school, college and on the amateur and professional circuit. After high school, Kevin received an athletic scholarship for golf to Temple University where he was then inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2016.
Former boys basketball coach Bob Fisher introduced Peter Foster and spoke about his legendary prowess as a basketball, baseball and soccer player at Rockland High School. Foster went on to play basketball and baseball at West Point Academy, and now works for the Disney Corporation in Florida.
Fran Cook was introduced by John Spinale, his teammate, who spoke about his great success as a track athlete at Rockland high School in the 1940’s where he was undefeated in both track and cross country in his four years at Rockland High School. He held the course record in Rockland, Brockton and Franklin Park for many years.
Former girls basketball coach Mal Lannin-Cotton introduced Courtney Burns. She described Burns’ dedication to basketball, leading Rockland’s teams to three Patriot League championships. Burns played at Rhode Island College, and since then has become the head women’s coach at Mitchell College in New London, CT. She was voted Coach of the Year in the New England Collegiate Conference in her second year as a head coach.
Rick Phelps introduced his brother Jeffrey and spoke about his accomplishments as a football player at RHS under coach Ken Owen. Jeffrey went on to play at Colby College and is a successful businessman in Rockland, taking over the Amos A. Phelps Insurance for his father, Richard Phelps who is a Rockland School Committeeman.
Tom Ryan was introduced by Chuck McDonald, RHS football coach and Ryan’s teammate. McDonald described Ryan’s work ethic as a baseball and football player at RHS. He was a three year starter in football, a captain and an Enterprise all-scholastic. At Springfield College Ryan was a three year starter where he captained the team that reached the NCAA Division 3 Elite 8 in 2000. After several years as defensive coordinator at Tewksbury High School, he has been the head coach at Methuen High School since 2013.
All of the inductees after accepting their plaques spoke about the influence that growing up in Rockland had on their lives. They also described how their participation in sports, and in particular the influence of their coaches at Rockland High School, had put them on the path to successful lives.
Gary Graziano concluded that this is one of the best classes of inductees that he has presided over.
Since 1988, Rockland High School has inducted 78 student-athlete alumni to the Hall of Fame, as well as four former coaches as honorary members.
Nominees for the Hall of Fame have had outstanding athletic accomplishments during and after high school. They also have contributed to their communities, and in some cases have overcome adversity during high school or later on in their lives. They must also be at least five years out of high school.
Hall of Fame Committee members include:Gary Graziano, Kathleen Paulding, Fredrick Damon, Stephen Sangster, Madeline Lannin-Cotton and Nicholas Liquori.
Anyone may nominate a Rockland High School graduate for consideration for the Athletic Hall of Fame. To do so, contact the athletic director at firstname.lastname@example.org.