Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Townspeople

October 11, 2012

Dalton column: Old friends, legends Hixon and Collins

Wil Hixon, Andover’s great basketball coach and a principal of Andover High School, has a wonderful history. Brought up in a small town north of Plymouth, N.H., he graduated at age 16 with excellent grades and no thoughts of going to college in spite of his parents’ wishes and the high school principal’s arguments. Instead he chose to work in a bobbin factory where many of his fellow townspeople worked, including a lot of people he grew up with.

While in high school, Hixon was an all-around athlete but excellent in baseball, a sport he continued to play while working in the factory. The Plymouth State College baseball coach kept an eye on Hixon and convinced Wil to come to come to Plymouth State and play ball. He was so good that the coach played him wherever Wil was needed, so he played second, shortstop, and third, while always swinging a hot bat. Several of his mill worker friends, some colorful, came to the games and cheered loudly for Plymouth State but especially for Wil. Among the halls of fame that have honored Hixon is Plymouth State’s, where he was inducted as both a baseball player and as a high school coach.

After graduating, Wil started his teaching and coaching career at Raymond then Plymouth, N.H. In six years he won two state basketball titles and missed a third because of a fluke. With seconds left and his team down by a point, a perfect pass to one of Wil’s players should have lead to an easy lay up and victory except that, when the player turned around to head for the basket, the referee was inexplicably in the way causing the player to fall and the team to lose. In the locker room later, the referee cried, knowing he had cost a team a state title.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Townspeople
  • AT HOWARD KOH

    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES/Courtesy photo Dr. Howard Koh will step down as U.S. assistant secretary for health after five years to rejoin Harvard School of Public Health this fall in a new position in its Department of Health Policy and Management.

    Koh to rejoin Harvard School of Public Health Posted 7 days ago 1 Photo
  • 48 locals to pedal in Pan-Mass Challenge Posted 7 days ago
  • AT HANNAH CURRIE

    Courtesy photo Hannah Currie is spending 10 days this summer becoming immersed in the music industry at GRAMMY Camp in Los Angeles.

    Currie hits note at LA's GRAMMY Camp Posted 7 days ago 1 Photo
  • South Church names new senior pastor Posted 14 days ago
  • AT BOYS GIRLS CLUB GOLF1

    COURTESY PHOTO Andover residents Patrick James, left, Adam Geaslen, Ryan Byrd and Dan Bryant claimed first place at the 35th annual Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence Golf Tournament at Indian Ridge Country Club in town.

    Local foursome aces Boys & Girls Club tourney Posted 14 days ago 2 Photos
  • AT LOCKS SISTERS2

    COURTESY PHOTO The Marble sisters --Anna, 8, left, and Isabel, 11 -- post-donatin to Locks of Love.

    Sisters pair up to donate pony tails to Locks of Love Posted 14 days ago 4 Photos
  • AT HOST1

    DESI SMITH/Staff photo Former Andover residents Dana Cohen and his wife, Ginny, back, left, have regularly hosted foreign exchange students since 1989. Farrah Moussa, back right, from Egypt, and Paula Valverde, front right, from Spain, are the latest students to spend a year with the Cohens, who now live in Gloucester.

    Former Andover couple welcomes exchange students for quarter-century Posted 14 days ago 4 Photos
  • Thursday, July 3, 2014
  • LENO1

    FILE PHOTO Jay Leno, who honed his comedy skills growing up in Andover, will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this fall during a performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

    In good comedy company Posted 21 days ago 2 Photos
  • COMMUNITY TRUST2

    ACT 3.jpg Susan Stott, third from left, accepts the Opening Doors to Affordable Housing in Andover Award from Andover Community Trust directors, from left, Don Schroeder, treasurer; John Pearson, president; and Joan Johnson, clerk.

    Affordable housing advocates honored Posted 21 days ago 2 Photos
  • AT TABIT

    Salim Tabit

    Townspeople in the News Posted 21 days ago 1 Photo

Pictures of the Week
Stocks