Dick Collins may have coached more great players than any football coach in area history.
His players excelled at Michigan, Florida, Boston College, Maryland, Duke, UMass, Holy Cross, UNH, Brown, Harvard and on and on.
When asked who was the best, Collins would invariably discuss various Farnhams and Perrys and Marinaros and Jerry Stabile and Erik Greenstein and say it was just too tough to single out one player.
But he’d invariably say, usually off the record, it was Glenn Verrette.
In three glorious years in the mid-’70s, Verrette lost only once ... and that was in the Eastern Mass. Division 2 Super Bowl his sophomore year. The other two years Andover won Super Bowls, with Verrette catching the winning TD pass in overtime one year and with 1:25 left in the other.
“More than the team accomplishments, it was the camaraderie,” said Verrette, who still lives in Andover. “I knew kids since the first and second grade and to accomplish something really special with them, it’s just always a part of you.”
They are still close.
“We just went on our 34th golf trip,” said Verrette, who is senior managing director for Cassidy Turley commercial real estate in Boston. “It was (ex-teammates) John McDonald, Jeff Winters, Steve Fabiani, Duncan Black, T.J. Stamas and Steve Tassinari.”
Verrette’s father, Ernie, attended Central Catholic and his mother, Joan, was a nurse at Phillips Academy so he gave those schools a look. Albeit briefly.
“Just growing up in Andover, you wanted to play for Dick Collins,” he said. “That was a big thing for me.”
That first Super Bowl win, an incredulous Verrette recalled screaming at teammate Black, who he thought was coming in to replace him — on fourth down in overtime.
“I started screaming at him to get off the field,” Verrette recalled.