Skip to main content

Millis/Medway - Local Town Pages

Medway’s Porter Excelled in Sports, Administrative Roles Key Figure in Starting Football at BMR

Rick Porter had a rewarding career as an athlete, coach and administrator.

Staff Sports Writer
Rick Porter was one of the best athletes to compete at Medway High School.
A three-sport star, Porter excelled in football, earning a full scholarship to play at Boston University. But, he also got top-notch results in basketball and track. Before graduating in 1971, the 6-foot, 175-pound Porter competed as a tailback and defensive back in football, a guard in basketball, and a sprinter and weight man in track.
Consider these achievements at Medway:
Played on two Tri Valley League championship teams in football
Led all football players in the greater Milford area in scoring his senior year with 124 points
Led the football team in interceptions as a sophomore with 8
Rushed for 1,000 yards as a senior
Was a TVL all-star seven times in three sports
Averaged 19 points in basketball as a senior
Set records in the javelin, triple jump, and hurdles
Was featured in “Faces in the Crowd” in Sports Illustrated
“The titles in football were a thrill and leading the area in scoring was an honor,’’ Porter said. “It’s always nice to be part of a successful team but there were many teammates and quality coaches who deserve credit. I competed with excellent teammates; and coaches like Hal Ryder, Bill O’Donnell, Bill Phipps and Eric Sidman were motivators who inspired their players.’’
    Porter, who mulled a dozen offers to play Division 1 football, attended Boston University where he was a three-year starter at cornerback and captain his senior season.
    “I led the team in interceptions as a senior and felt fortunate to win the Tom Gastall Award,’’ Porter noted. “That award was for being the most valuable back. I also was chosen as an alternate for the Blue-Gray all-star game.
“I was lucky to meet and play with and against many great people. One was tight end Pat McInally from Harvard, who’s in the College Football Hall of Fame. He was tall and agile. Another was Mark van Eeghen of Colgate. There were many other future pros that I played against.’’
Other colleges that pursued Porter were Tufts, Villanova, West Point, the University of North Carolina, Rhode Island, UMass-Amherst, Maine and New Hampshire.
They obviously liked his football IQ, his speed, strength and quickness, his instinctive nature and his physical and mental toughness. Unlike today’s schedules that number 11 games, Porter’s high school statistics were achieved during nine-game campaigns.
A science and physical education major, Porter graduated from BU in 1975, then signed a contract to play for the Memphis Southmen of the World Football League.
“I got to training camp but suffered a hamstring injury,’’ he said. “I was penciled in as a starter at cornerback, but was told to go home, rehab, then return. The league was having trouble staying afloat and it folded before I ever got back to Memphis. That was a disappointment that really hurt. I would have liked to know how well I could have done but I needed time to mend.’’
A quality educator at a variety of venues, Porter’s first stop was at Bellingham High where he taught science and health for 25 years. He became head of the Wellness Department and earned a masters in administration from Fitchburg State. He also was an assistant in football and coached the Blackhawks’ girls track team for 12 years.
    Eager to become an administrator, Porter joined the Milford High staff as an assistant principal and he also was an assistant football coach for two seasons, helping the Scarlet Hawks win a Super Bowl.

After four years in Milford, he became principal at Blackstone-Millville Regional in 2004.
During his eight years at BMR, Porter worked diligently to expand educational opportunities for students and to enhance the school’s academic standing.
“BMR had a high dropout rate when I got there,’’ Porter noted. “We worked hard to reduce that rate and we kept it low. Advanced Placement courses were added to help students broaden their opportunities. Our band, which had lots of success before I got there, continued to excel, performing in a variety of big events, one being the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California.’’
Porter says his days as a teacher, coach and administrator were “challenging but rewarding.’’ Starting a varsity football program at BMR no doubt was a challenge and a reward.
 When pressure mounted to add football, Porter stepped up in a big way. He was acutely aware of the valuable disciplines and the valuable life lessons the sport could teach students.
“During my eight years as principal, I got lots of letters and phone calls from fans eager to get a program organized,’’ Porter recalled. “We presented our plan to the school committee and they approved it at the jayvee level. Our jayvee team went 5-4. I know the two towns were excited about starting football and I knew the interest would keep building. I was pleasantly surprised at how much we improved every week. BMR got varsity football a year later, starting in 2013.’’ 
Porter emphasized that he was fortunate to be surrounded by supportive people who were proactive in the drive to start football at a school where it was dormant for 43 years.
“Adding football was a big plus because it provided an opportunity for kids,’’ he said. “It was a win-win situation. Football, like many other sports, teaches student-athletes how to be good teammates, how to be goal-oriented, how to handle adversity, how to be leaders and how to handle success. Sports also help students to develop confidence.’’
Since his retirement from BMR, Porter has been in demand to assist at the administrative level. He spent two years as an assistant principal at Advanced Math & Science Academy in Marlboro, then alternated between Bartlett High and the Webster Middle School as an assistant principal for another two years. And, for two months last winter, he was interim principal at Tourtellotte Memorial High School in Thompson, Conn.
The 67-year-old Porter and his wife Judy live in Medway and are the parents of three adult sons. Porter enjoys golf, exercising, stock market investing, the Boston sports teams, and traveling.
Calling his late parents (Jean and Dick) role models for their support and encouragement, Porter’s athletic philosophy focused on winning. “I was competitive,’’ he said. “But, I also strived to reach my potential and enjoy whatever sport I was playing.’’
The life lessons Porter learned as an athlete, however, will never be lost. He recalled a telling incident from his high school days.
“I remember a track meet against Dover-Sherborn,’’ Porter noted. “Their guy threw the javelin 180 feet and my best had been 175. On my last throw, I reached 183 feet and won the event. It just goes to show that you can surpass your limit when pushed. I often told our faculty members at BMR staff meetings to ‘be careful not to limit yourself when you set objectives.’’’
Porter loved to compete and he enjoyed coaching. And, as an administrator, he was always eager to provide student-athletes with opportunities so they could improve and gain confidence.
Rick Porter personifies excellence and he displayed that quality as an athlete, a coach and an administrator.