Family has 61 years of Super Bowls, league titles

Published December 6, 2019


MELROSE—Melrose High football has always been something of a family affair, a long red line of football tradition created by a proud tribe of Red Raiders that stretches 100 years deep. But one family has suited up more Melrose football players in recent memory and to great success. Melrose’s Hickey and McLaughlin families have produced some of the finest Red Raiders to ever compete at Fred Green Field, and this year sends two more to this Saturday’s Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.  

From 1958-2019 the Hickey/McLaughlins have trained under just three football coaches; all local legends: Joe Hoague, Bruce MacPherson, and Tim Morris. That’s sixty-one years of a long red line that has seen state titles, dozens of all-league and all-conference nods, and plenty of college football play. Combined, twelve McLaughlin/Hickey family members have played on 9 Middlesex League Championship teams, two State Championship teams, two Super Bowl finalists and, this weekend, can add to that if Melrose earns their third State Championship with a win over Plymouth South. 

A FAMILY AFFAIR for these Red Raiders. From left: Chris Hickey, Matt Hickey, John McLaughlin, Sr., Alec McLaughlin, Jack Hickey and Charlie McLaughlin. (courtesy photo)

There was no surprise on Thanksgiving when many of the clan gathered to watch their alma mater Melrose sucker-punch Wakefield to remain perfect at 11-0 and clinch the league title. 

This particular line starts with John McLaughlin Sr., of Melrose, a three-year letterman who played under Joe Hogue on the undefeated state champion 1959 MHS football team. His brother Charlie was an outside linebacker who played on the MHS 1963 team (16-0-2) who were Class B State Champs before McLaughlin opted to serve our country in Vietnam over college football. The 1970s saw play from Tom Hickey, a three-year letterman who graduated in 1977 and Tim Hickey, a 1980 grad who went on to become an All American football player at Stonehill. Then there was Jay Hickey, an All-Scholastic All-League player who took his football talents to Columbia University, and Peter Hickey (1983) who went on to play at Exeter.  

The legendary 1982 MHS football team (recently inducted into Melrose Athletic Hall of Fame) rostered two cousins: John Mclaughlin Jr., a three-year letterman who helped guide Melrose to the Super Bowl along with cousin Chris Hickey, an All-Scholastic, Div. 1 Player-of-the-Year who went on to play at Bates, where he broke records and earned Player-of-the-Year honors in his division. Just a few years ago, those two Red Raider alums got to watch history repeat itself when their sons, Brian McLaughlin (MHS 2015) and Jack Hickey (MHS 2015) led their 2014 Red Raider football team to its first Super Bowl appearance in over thirty years. Both Hickey and Mclaughlin were All-Stars and All-Emass and Hickey an All-Scholastic, and both continued their successful football careers at Amherst and at Navy, respectively, from where they recently graduated.  

Now, their little brothers have their turn. Junior Matt Hickey (MHS 2021) has emerged as a feared player in his division and will be counted on to generate offense at this weekend’s Super Bowl. Alec McLaughlin (MHS 2023) is a freshman receiver and outside linebacker who was recently called up to the team and has three years to make his mark on the program. These two may be the youngest of their families but they represent the future for Coach Tim Morris’ team. 

According to patriarch John McLaughlin, Sr., a strong belief in the Melrose Public Schools and the pride of hometown playing was paramount when considering these players’ high school options. “There is tremendous pride in playing for your hometown and with neighbors and friends, who remain your friends,” he says. “I still have lunch with my high school teammates sixty years later. Kids who play on these teams, they’re forging lifelong relationships.”

Here’s to 61 years and more.