J. Barry Higgins
Despite never scoring a singlepoint, goal, run or touchdown for Concord High School, few people have had more influence on athletics in town.
Born and raised in West Concord, Higgins attended St. Mary's High School in Waltham for three years before graduating from Concord High in 1940. After graduating from Manhattan College on a scholarship, Higgins returned to the Junction and embarked on a varied career in which he touched the lives of virtually every athlete in the town of Concord.
A member of the Concord Rod and Gun, Lions, Musketaquid and Elks Clubs, Higgins was a fixture around the junction, and single handedly coached, managed and fi na ncially supported teams in all seasons. His passion for sports and love of Concord earned him the nicknames of "The Mayor" and "Commissione r" to his many friends in recognition of his contributions to the athletes of the town.
Baseball was clearly Higgins' fi rst love, and he coached the West Concord Cardinals (later the West Concord Town team) for years, leaving a legacy of success on the Rideout Playground fields. Great players like Matt and Tudy Sepe, john DeRuzzo, Roy and Carl Anderson, Herb Blodgett, jim Condon, Charlie Sawyer, George Fenton, jack O'Grady, Val Muscato, Charley Hopkins, Bob Lynn, joe and Dick McCarthy all played for Higgins.
"Barry had a terrific memory," said former WC shortstop jack Wallace, who played under Higgins for several years. "He could remember what a hitter did against a particular pitcher each time they faced each other. He knew the game. He hated to lose, and you loved to play for him."
In addition to organizing hockey teams that practiced on Warner's Pond (located just behind the Higgins home on Laws Brook Road ), Higgins coached a semi-pro basketball team for Our Lady's Help of Christian parish. A true competitor, it has been said that Higgins hated few things more than losing to cross-town rival St. Bernard's.
"Barry always enjoyed writing, and first started writing when he did a neighborhood paper growing up," said widow Dorothy "Dot" Higgins, who continues to write the "junketing Around The junction" column for the Concord Journal, "He continued writing for the Concord papers, enjoying it to the utmost while also serving on the Concord Recreation Commission and CCHS Sports Hall of Fame committee for many years. He was very active around town and truly did what he loved, which was coaching and supporting the teams around town. This is a wonderful honor for Barry and I know he would be very proud to be included in this distinguished group."
In addition to his weekly columns in the Concord journal, Higgins was a letter carrier and supervisor for the Postal Service. Higgins, who has a daughter Patricia Jean Manley and a son Mark as well as a granddaughter Rachael Manley, passed away in 1996 and is buried in his beloved hometown.