Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

April 24, 2014

Fitting honor

Press box to be dedicated to Townsman sportswriter

Few have done as much for young athletes in Andover as Rick Harrison.

Now the community wants to give thanks to the retired Harrison, an Andover native who wrote for The Townsman for 42 years (1965-07) and also was a longtime youth baseball and basketball coach in town.

A committee has been formed through the Hoops for Hope League to raise money for the Rick Harrison Press Box at the Peter Aumais Park baseball field adjacent to Andover High School on Shawsheen Road.

“Rick’s coverage of the youth and high school sports for the Andover Townsman and Lowell Sun were legendary,” said Andover Hall of Famer Glenn Verrette, who is helping spearhead the press box effort.

“His Townsman articles were lengthy, detailed and extremely well written. Rick’s youth coaching (25 years in basketball, 28 in baseball), combined with his steady leadership, had a tremendous positive impact on thousands of young people in Andover. His dedication and service to Andover must not be forgotten.”

When he retired from the Townsman, Harrison estimated he had written about more than 50,000 young athletes in town.

The committee already heard back from one prominent athlete who is still making a name for himself.

Bill O’Brien, head coach of the NFL’s Houston Texans, wrote, “Rick Harrison was a great coach for all of us growing up in Andover. I hired John Perry here in Houston. We both played hoops for Rick in Andover. I played baseball for him also. Mike Lane, a policeman in Andover and one of our best friends, also played hoops and baseball for Rick.”

To contribute

Checks should be made payable to Hoops for Hope and mailed to:

Hoops for Hope, c/o Glenn Verrette, 46 Porter Road, Andover 01810.

Donation can also be made by credit card or PayPal under the donate to Rick Harrison Press Box page at hoopsforhope.com.

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