Tech Tournament Champion Boys Basketball Team
One of the great boy’s basketball teams in the long and proud history of the program, the 1964 CCHS team cap- tured the Tech Tournament title, the state championship of the day, at the old Boston Garden. Along the way, the Patriots went 20-1, winning the Middlesex League crown and setting a school record for victories that was broken only by the 2016 CCHS team that went 22-3 and reached the state finals.
Coached by Hall of Fame teacher/coach James Hayes and assistant Frank Krypel, the seeds of greatness were sown on the playgrounds and driveways of Concord and Carlisle. Hayes, a former Tufts great, was instrumen- tal in getting the Town of Concord to build a basketball court (with lights) at Emerson Playground in the early 1960s, a facility that led to very competitive summer league basketball games and helped the team hone its skills. A true taskmaster, Hayes demanded nothing less than excellence from his players, and put a premium on defense, rebounding and effort.
“Coach Hayes had one hard and fast rule, no one lets their man drive baseline,” says Glenn Kanotrski ’64. “If a player drove baseline it meant you would be sitting on the bench at the next whistle, no exceptions. Coach Hayes and the team adopted a goal, no team scores over 40 points against us. Defense was a key in our drive to a league and Tech Tourney championship.”
Optimism was very high for the 1964 season with ten letterman and the “starting six,” as Hayes called them, returning from a 1962-63 team that went 12-5 and qualified for the Tech Tournament. To demonstrate the athleticism and depth the team possessed, all six went on to college and played at least one varsity sport at their school: Captain Davey Crowther, URI Baseball. Hugh Kilmartin, US Naval Academy Basketball. Seth Aronie, Amherst College Basketball. Van Doty, Boston University Football. Sandy Smith, Williams College Track and Basketball. Billy Donovan, Dartmouth College Football and Baseball. The depth of the team’s reserves (Frank McNamara, John Hurstak, Steve Haas, Glenn Kantorski, Earl Davis, Doug Bethke, Harold Goranson and Brent Clark) was so significant that Donovan was quoted as saying that most of the practices were harder than the games. Senior manager Tim Smith was also an integral part of the team’s success, and was like having an extra assistant coach on the bench.
Wanting to test his team, Hayes scheduled up, and in the first game of the season, mighty New Bedford HS and star Jake Gomes came to town for an inter-regional matchup that packed the gymnasium at the (then) new CCHS. The Patriots neutralized Gomes and won going away, 60-42. Next up was defending state champion Chelmsford, and the balanced and disciplined Pats won by 10 points to continue a roll of 11 straight wins to open the season. The only loss all year was to Melrose High School on a shot at the buzzer (33-32) in a Janu- ary game played without senior Sandy Smith due to illness. The loss was a blessing in disguise for Hayes and his team, giving them the fire and focus to finish the year with nine straight wins by an average of 27 points.
The Tech Tournament, so named because it originally took place at MIT, was the de facto state tournament of the day, and all of the games in Class A and B took place at the old Garden on Causeway Street. Supported at each game by trainloads of maroon and gold fans, CCHS opened with a blowout win over Needham, outgunned Andover by 19 points and then avenged their loss to Melrose with a 35-point blowout win in the semifinals. That set up a finals showdown with undefeated Braintree High, a game that proved to be anticlimactic, as the Patriots outhustled and outmanned the Wamps by a 58-39 count before a sellout crowd of more than 15,000.
Following the win, the town put on a huge banquet and awards ceremony attended by over 300 people, with players receiving a maroon sports jacket with a patch on the left pocket honoring their accomplishment. Hayes, Crowther, Kilmartin and Donovan are all members of the CCHS Athletic Hall of Fame. Sadly, Coach Hayes passed away from cancer at the young age of 43 in 1978.>