Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Townspeople

October 11, 2012

Dalton column: Old friends, legends Hixon and Collins

(Continued)

Donald Dunn, Andover’s athletic director, approached Wil in 1958 and made him an offer to come to Andover and coach varsity basketball. He started teaching and coaching at Andover High School in the 1959 school year, and in the next 24 years his Andover High basketball teams won 377 games and lost only 122, winning a state title in 1970. Overall, between NH and MA, he compiled a record of 469 wins and 146 losses. It must be rare for a coach to win state titles in two states.

I spoke to Mr. Hixon last week, reminding him that I was in his history class in 1960. He remembered my political views, and I told him he was one of the best teachers I ever had. He left teaching in favor of school administration, and was principal for his last four years before retiring in 1991. In one of those years, Andover High was picked as one of the country’s 10 best schools by a national magazine.

“I believe in loyalty,” he explained to me as we discussed his career. As the coach of the baseball JVs when Ted Boudreau was varsity coach, a foolish rule was put in place saying a coach had to teach in the school he coached in. Whether it was aimed at Ted Boudreau or not, the rule cost him his varsity baseball job since he was a junior high teacher. As the JV coach, Hixon was offered the varsity coaching job, but he refused to take it out of his friendship with Boudreau. It must have been a heck of a sacrifice for a guy who loved baseball.

Wil and his wife Dawn, whom many of us remember as the pleasant, attractive woman who worked in the high school’s front office, live in southern New Hampshire on waterfront property, and they have three adult children and seven grandchildren, one of whom is a world class diver, and he’s still in high school..

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