Thursday, November 24, 2011
CM's field dedicated to Jim O'Connor
By Corey J. Allen
WEST ROXBURY, Mass. -- At halftime of Catholic Memorial's 50th annual Turkey Bowl against BC High, after the stadium at Catholic Memorial was renamed after Jim O'Connor and the field renamed in honor of the late Bro. Joseph G. McKenna, CM hockey coach Bill Hanson remembered coming to CM.
In a time before he coached at CM, the visit came under not-so-friendly conditions.
"It brings me back to when I was a senior in high school and I played for Boston Technical High School," Hanson said. "We came over and we lost to Catholic Memorial 12-8 that day, my first time having seen West Roxbury coming from South Boston."
Years later, O'Connor would hire Hanson, who has subsequently brought prestige to the CM hockey program, and in his opinion, this honor has been some time in the making.
"It's been long overdue," Hanson added.
"I never want you to apologize for the academic or athletic excellence," said O'Connor of the now-famous words Brother McKenna said to him during his interview for the CM football position. "It was emotional. A lot has happened over the last fifty years, so I was extrememly humbled."
After the ceremony, holding his trophy and donning a matching red tie and rose on his overcoat, the feeling hadn't changed much.
"I'm still humbled by it because it's a great honor and great responsibility," O'Connor said. "I hope to help them continue the great tradition of education and athletics here at Catholic Memorial in anyway I can."
O'Connor's son David was present at the ceremony and reminisced on the time when his father was still a coach on that field. Aside from Thursday's score, he was elated at how things have unfolded since then.
"Growing up and watching it all, seeing him coach for the first twenty years of my life was amazing," David O'Connor said. "To see where that has evolved into this ceremony is amazing. We couldn't be anymore proud as a family."