Concord Observer: Concord High School sports stars of yesteryear 

January 26, 2024

By Ken Anderson 

As I held the door for a lady at the West Concord Middlesex Saving Bank, I recognized her from around town and the Council on Aging center at the Harvey Wheeler building. She recognized me and brought up my column. In particular, she said I should write about some of the great athletes who played for Concord High School before my time. She graduated from Concord High in 1958 while her husband graduated in 1956. I protested that my memory only went back so far. 

A few days later, I started the task of cleaning up the piles of paper I had accumulated over the years: articles about country bands; columns from sports pages; a column by M.R. Montgomery about power bathrooms; words of wisdom to be passed on to future generations; and favorite comic strips from Monty, Opus, Pogo, and Doonesbury.  

And then I found the program for the induction ceremony for the first Concord-Carlisle Athletic Hall of Fame. 

Flipping through the program, I recognized the two coaches, Bernie Megin and Mim Clark, both of whom were still active when I was in high school. In addition, I had the pleasure of playing with Billy Donovan (’65, varsity letters in three sports); knowing Jackie Palmer (’62, three sports); and I recognized the names of Val Muscato (’47, five sports and I had read about his exploits at Concord and Notre Dame and as coach and AD at Oliver Ames); Henry Berlied (’38, three sports) and George Fenton (’48, four sports) —the latter two through their children. And I knew two of the three athletes from the 50s: Dave Bouchard and Paul McLaughlin, both in the class of 1955. 

Dave Bouchard was a math teacher who was an assistant football and golf team coach when I was at CCHS. He, like all the athletes then honored, was a multi-sport athlete and star (football, basketball and baseball) who won twelve varsity letters.  

I was asked by an athlete from the 1990s who was the best quarterback from the high school. I replied Dave Bouchard and Willie Hicks. As QB, his record was 27 wins in 30 starts, including a victory over Joe Bellino’s Winchester team. In baseball, he won the 1955 state championship at Fenway Park, pitching 17 innings (a feat unlikely to happen today, given pitch and inning count limits on players) to beat a pitcher from Lexington who went on to pitch in the majors. At Brandeis, he played football and baseball and earned a tryout with the Cleveland Indians! 

His teammate Paul McLaughlin (“… may be the best all-around athlete of the decade,” the program said) was also a three-sport athlete (11 varsity letters) and was All-Scholastic in both football and basketball. We had many grueling squash matches in which, despite being my elder by nine years and later after shoulder surgery, Paul always prevailed!  

I never saw him play in high school, but I do remember, and have saved, his words on competition: “I just loved playing and competing. You are not going to win every time, but don’t let up and don’t stop. Go as hard as you can until the game is over,” he said, as quoted in the Concord Journal on January 27, 1994. Words every athlete should imprint on the inside of his forehead! 

I recommend finding a copy of the program for that first induction ceremony to learn more about the great athletes who graced our fields of play.