Event to be held Nov. 23 for longtime MHS hoop coach
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — After compiling his 500th career victory as a high school basketball coach, local legend Nick Papas will be inducted into the Massachusetts Basketball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame with Distinguished Coach honors. The induction ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.
Papas, a longtime Melrose High School basketball coach, recently earned his 500th career win while coaching in his current position as varsity boys’ basketball coach at Brown, Buckingham and Nichols. Papas is among only 14 Massachusetts high school basketball coaches who’ve earned the rare distinction of 500 wins. In 2013 Papas was inducted into the Melrose High School Athletic Hall of Fame for an illustrious career as Red Raider coach.
“To be recognized in the state is the highest tribute as a coach,” Papas said, when reached for a comment. “I wouldn’t call this a climax of my coaching career but maybe a pinnacle. I appreciate the support of friends, family over the years and am quite humbled. It’s also a reflection of the efforts of my assistant coaches, players, schools and communities that I worked with over the years.”
Papas is a Watertown High School alum and 1973 Springfield College graduate who started his 34 year coaching career in Watertown before taking over at Minuteman Regional High School. In 1984 Papas took the helm at Melrose High School, where he compiled 16 straight winning seasons, 13 state tournament teams and two Div. 2 North finalists (1989 and 1996). His 1988-89 team qualified for the Div. 1 tournament for the first time in 14 years and were ranked #18 in New England. Papas is a four time MBCA Coach of the Year for his 1984, 1989, 1996 and 2003 seasons.
His upcoming induction is just one among many honors Papas has earned in the course of his career, including Boston Globe Div. 1 Coach of the Year (1989), Sons of Italy Award, Sherm Kinney Award, and the National Interscholastic Coaches Distinguished Service Award (1996), along with inductions into both Watertown Athletic Hall of Fame, Minuteman Regional Athletic Hall of Fame and Melrose High School Hall of Fame (2013).
Of his time in Melrose, Papas has special affinity as Red Raider coach. “The 16 years in Melrose were the best professional years of my life and I’m certain much of why I’m receiving this is because of my years there.”
As for what comes next, the current head coach at BB&N is happy where he is. Papas’ team is expected to be competitive in 2015, having graduated just one senior. “At this state of my career I feel good. I’ll continue to coach while I enjoy it and right now I enjoy it. I take it one year at a time,” he said.
Papas is a current resident of Winchester where he lives with his wife of 33 years, Roberta. He will be inducted along with two other Massachusetts H.S. Basketball Coaches, Mark Donahue of Uxbridge High and Mike Rubin of East Boston High. The event will have a cocktail hour from 4-5 p.m., followed by dinner and Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Presentation. Tickets are $50 person and must be purchased in advance. For Information contact Hall of Fame Chair Jim Reynolds at 508-755-8519 or e-mail: [email protected] or to register online visit www.mbcaorg.com.