For when the one great scorer comes to mark against your name, he writes ...

Not that you won or lost, but how you played the game.

Grantland Rice

Nov. 1, 1880 - July 13, 1954

Wednesday, July 14, the sad news of the passing of the legendary Gene Goodreault reached Haverhill. He succumbed to illness at age 91 in Orinda, Calif. At that moment, it seemed the humidity became heavier and the gray sky appeared darker and more ominous.

Rain fell as the Bradford Swim Club traveled to Cedardale for a meet; BSC left victorious. He would have liked that. Gene was one of the founding directors of the club and was there the day ground was broken in the spring of 1964.

But a tribute to Gene Goodreault must begin and end at Boston College, where he made his mark on the collegiate sports world.

Two other BC greats, Jack "Fitz" Fitzpatrick (1948) and Dave Lane (1952), share their memories here as well.

Fitz said he remembers listening to the radio on Jan. 1, 1939, from the Cotton Bowl when Boston College lost to Clemson University, 6-3. Remember, during this time in history the South was rigidly segregated, meaning Boston College running back Lou Montgomery, a black player from Brockton, could not travel with the team. Through the following years, Gene would remain friends not only with Lou but the entire Montgomery family.

Redemption would come. In 1940, Boston College would go undefeated, finishing 11-0. Gene's final game that year would be the Sugar Bowl with a 19-13 win over Tennessee. He would be a consensus All-American that memorable year.

Jim Mahoney of Bradford recalls the late Dr. John Callahan telling how when Boston College defeated Holy Cross, 7-0, that year, in the waning minutes quarterback Charles O'Rourke avoided being tackled in his own end zone when Gene, seeing his predicament, ran back from midfield to make a block, avoiding a safety and allowing Boston College to kick from its 20 yard line.

These exploits brought high honors in later years.

In 1970, Gene Goodreault was elected one of the original inductees to the Boston College Varsity Club Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1982, Gene would be inducted to the National Collegiate Hall of Fame.

On Saturday, Oct. 20, 2001, Boston College would host Pittsburgh and at halftime Gene was escorted to midfield by the Boston College Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo, where his No. 50 jersey would forever be enshrined at Alumni Stadium. Gene would be only one of four to achieve this honor.

Following Gene's graduation from Boston College, he was drafted by the Detroit Lions but instead entered the Navy.

A decade ago, I had the privilege of introducing Bradford's Pat McCarthy to the Haverhill Rotary Club. The Holy Cross football great was the 1961 recipient of the Bulger Lowe Award, given each year to the outstanding football player in New England. In his presentation, Pat would say that at the award dinner that year, the first one to shake his hand was the first winner of the Bulger Lowe Award, fellow Bradford resident Gene Goodreault.

Lest you think football was all that occupied Gene's leisure time, Fitz can attest to his friend's passion for the game of bridge. Each week, he and Fitz would play with Bob Costello and John McNamara, a no-nonsense bidder who took the game very seriously.

Listen, listen can you hear from a distance?

"For Boston, for Boston

"We sing out proud refrain!

"For Boston, for Boston

"Till the echoes ring again!"

I believe that the combined voices of Monsignor George Kerr, Joe Zabilski, Mike Holovak, Chuck Gladchuk and Charles O'Rourke from that memorable 1941 team are a welcoming chorus as Gene's beloved Margaret awaits at heaven's gate with fellow Bradfordites Dr. John Callahan, Bob Costello, Dick Hart, Joe Maglio and John McNamara to shake his hand with a "Well done good friend, well done!"

Bernard Clohisy is a frequent contributor to The Haverhill Gazette.

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