Versatile Monaghan set for Millis Hall of Fame Induction
Rich Monaghan has earned his place in Millis High’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
By KEN HAMWEY
Staff Sports Writer
Rich Monaghan has all the credentials needed to be inducted into any high school’s athletic hall of fame. At Millis High, he earned 11 letters in four sports and was a multi-sport captain and all-star.
Monaghan’s phenomenal achievements will be front and center on March 19 at the Medway VFW, when the 67-year-old will be honored along with six other inductees at Millis High’s third annual Hall of Fame ceremony.
A captain and an all-star in football and basketball, Monaghan was the first student-athlete at Millis to score 1,000 points in basketball (1,272 total). He was a three-year starter at quarterback and a four-year starter at guard in basketball. During his two seasons of track, he ran the 100 and 440 and also competed in the discus and shot put.
In baseball, he displayed plenty of versatility, starting at shortstop as a freshman, then finishing his fourth year as the Mohawks’ catcher. When Monaghan concluded his senior year of basketball, 1,500 referees selected him to receive the Kelleher Sportsmanship Award.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be selected for induction,’’ Monaghan said. “It brings back memories of my roots that I’ve never forgot. I learned great life lessons in Millis from sports, from teachers and coaches, from peers and townspeople. It’s humbling to be included with great athletes and coaches who’ve already been inducted.’’
After graduating from Millis High in 1972, Monaghan excelled at Princeton University where he played cornerback and safety for the Tigers. He also ran back punts and kickoffs, leading the Ivy League in punt returns his senior year.
Monaghan had offers to play football at all the Ivy League schools, at the University of New Hampshire and the University of North Carolina.
Competing in high school at 5-11 and 185 pounds, the personable Monaghan has two vivid memories of his athletic days at Millis — a football game against Medfield his junior year and a basketball game against Nipmuc as a senior when he surpassed 1,000 career points.
“Medfield was an exceptionally strong team and we were unbeaten going into the game,’’ Monaghan recalled. “It was a great atmosphere and I remember the intense practices Ernie Richards conducted that week. We won, 30-8, and I rushed for one TD and threw two touchdown passes. When the game ended, I was awarded the MVP trophy.
“The 1,000th point didn’t seem like a big deal to me but coach Paul Duca wanted that event to occur at Millis. We played Nipmuc but Duca held me out of the last half of the previous game so I could get the 1,000th point at home. I scored the points to go over 1,000 just before the first half ended. The game was stopped and I remember how relieved I was that the suspense was over and I could get back to playing the games.’’
A captain who led by example, Monaghan also was a supportive leader in that role. “I was demanding of myself but I always strived to be encouraging,’’ he said.
The Millis native got plenty of encouragement from his three coaches — Richards in football and baseball, Duca in basketball and Andy Marak in track.
“I’ll never forget when I was in the eighth grade how coach Duca turned my outlook and my life around,’’ Monaghan said. “I was volatile at times and was a hot-head with a temper. One day Duca read the riot act to me. He was tough but he was just what I needed then. I was blessed to have tremendous mentors throughout my life. It led to success in sports, academics and in my business life.’’
Calling his oldest brother (Jay) his role model, Monaghan says it was Jay’s intensity and work ethic that rubbed off and helped him to excel.
Relying on an athletic philosophy that stressed winning, reaching his potential and having fun, Monaghan points to discipline as the key life lesson he learned in sports. “If you’re disciplined, you’ll play better and put yourself in a position to win,’’ he emphasized. “And, winning leads to fun.’’
Graduating from Princeton in 1976 with a degree in psychology, Monaghan first worked for Proctor & Gamble in sales management. After seven years in that role, he joined Merrill-Lynch and worked for that firm on Wall Street for 13 years. He finished his business career as president of Putnam Mutual Funds.
Monaghan, who calls Hingham home, is married and he and his wife Helene have two daughters (Katy and Julie) and a grandson.
Three situations in athletics speak volumes about Monaghan’s competitive nature.
“Beating Harvard at Cambridge my senior year at Princeton was great,’’ he recalled. “My family and friends were there and so was coach Duca. Very memorable.’’
Winning that sportsmanship award in high school ranks high because he often had to deal with taunting from rival fans “I learned to control a volatile temper,’’ he said. “A lot of credit goes to coach Duca who helped me deal with those issues.
And finally, there’s the unbelievable results of a freshman football game that Millis played against Medfield. It was a classic.
“We stopped Medfield at our one,’’ Monaghan noted. “If they scored, it was game over because there was less than two minutes to play. We then marched 99 yards to score the winning TD. I passed to Gary Warren for the winning TD. It was a spectacular finish.’’
And, it’ll be a spectacular night for Rich Monaghan when he’s inducted into the Millis Athletic Hall of Fame. Because he’s never forgotten his roots.
Here is a thumbnail look at the other inductees:
Dennis Breen (Class of 1968) — A versatile three sport star in football, basketball, and baseball, he displayed plenty of leadership as a captain in all three sports. A Metrowest Daily News all-star, he scored 100 points in football from his halfback slot during his senior year. A forward in basketball, he averaged 15 points, and in baseball he pitched and played the outfield. Awarded a full scholarship to play football at the University of Rhode Island, he signed a contract with the New York Stars of the World Football League after graduation. He later coached Milford High’s football team and led the Scarlet Hawks to a pair of Super Bowl triumphs. He was an assistant principal at Milford and later became principal at Hopedale High before being named that school system’s superintendent.
Molly Breen (Class of 2010) — Millis High’s all-time leading basketball scorer (boys and girls) with 1360 points. She also competed in soccer and track. In basketball she also is the school’s all-time leading rebounder with 870. Her career steals were 322. During the 2010 season, she averaged 17.7 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 1.5 blocks. She was selected to four all-star teams as a senior — Tri Valley League MVP, All-Scholastic Boston Globe, All-Scholastic Boston Herald and Metrowest Daily News Super team. In 2008 and 2009 she was a TVL All-Star, All-Scholastic Boston Globe, All-Scholastic Boston Herald and the Fox Dream Team.
1980 Boys Outdoor Track Team — Class C State Champions that lost only lost 3 meets in 3 years (1979-1981). Jim Caddell, Mike Collins, Rob Baldini, Wayne Devens, Jon Sycamore were Tri Valley League All Stars. Three members were TVL honorable mention (Keith Jordan, Greg Andonian and Billy Congdon). The team still holds seven school records — 300 meter hurdles (39.9 seconds, Keith Jordan); 100 meter dash (10.0 seconds, Jim Caddell); 200 meter dash (22.4 seconds, Jim Caddell); 400 meter dash (51.0 seconds, Wayne Devens); one-mile run (4:33.5, Jon Sycamore); two-mile run (9:19.6, Jon Sycamore); and 4x400 meter relay (3:42.0, Wayne Devens, Michael Collins, Rob Baldini, and Keith Jordan).
2008-09 Girls Basketball Team — Dave Fallon was in his second year as the varsity coach and he was assisted by Paul Geary, Howie Ingraham, Dale Maki and Anthony Fallon. This squad was the first basketball team in school history (boys and girls) to be State Champions. Seeded No. 11, they won the Division 4 South Sectional, defeating defending 2008 D-4 State Champion Cohasset, 51-49. Cohasset was seeded No. 1. The Mohawks downed Georgetown, the D-4 North champions, 60-43, finishing the season with a 19-6 record. The girls had two 1,000-point scorers (Molly Breen, 1360 and Amy Ingraham, 1320.
D. Peter Vigue (Coach 1974-2007) — A coach of three sports, he was Millis’ boys and girls head track coach from 1972-1994. A cross-country coach, he started the middle school cross country program and also was instrumental in getting boys varsity soccer underway. He was Millis’ Athletic Director from 1999 to 2003 and served as president of the TVL track coaches from 1976-1982. Vigue coached boys’ jayvee and varsity soccer, varsity wrestling, and middle school basketball.
Ken Hamwey (Contributor) — The 78-year-old sports writer/editor filed his first story in 1967 on Millis High School’s football team. A Natick High and Babson College graduate, he also covered the Celtics and Patriots while at the Metrowest Daily News. In 1973, he joined the Providence Journal where he finished a 35-year career there as Night Sports Editor. Now, in semi-retirement, he works for nine local monthly newspapers. His sports stories often focus on Millis High’s players, teams and coaches. On his last day in Providence, the Rhode Island Senate read aloud a citation for his contributions to R.I. athletics. Two years later, in 2010, he was honored by the Mass. Interscholastic Athletic Association, which presented him with its Distinguished Friend Award.
Tickets for the ceremony cost $50 and can be ordered until March 12. They can be obtained by writing a check to the Millis Athletics Hall of Fame and mailed to 155 Plain St., Millis, Ma. 02054. Tickets can also be obtained via Venmo (money amount to @Millis-AthleticsHOF). A cocktail hour will begin at 6 p.m. and dinner will be at 7 p.m. followed by the ceremony.
Members of the Millis Hall of Fame Committee include Mark Caulfield, Rusty Cushman, James Hart, Tom Ingraham, Brian Kraby, Jack O’Rourke, Dyann Works Rice, Olivia Zitoli and David Sperandio.