Coaching Legends

John Croft Myers

John Croft Myers joined the faculty in 1916 soon after graduating from Gettysburg College. He was the consummate school man, teaching math and Physics in the morning and coaching football, basketball, and baseball in the afternoons. Myers left the Hilltop for two years to serve as an artillery officer in the Army during WWI and was stationed in France, but he returned to his school duties after the commitment was over. A perfectionist, Myers demanded and received the best from his students. He was known “to spice up trigonometry classes by illustrating theorems with examples from the preparation of artillery fire.” In due time, Myers was appointed the School’s first Director of Athletics in deference to his outstanding coaching and leadership skills. He was the School’s first football coach in an era in which every boy in school played on the gridiron during the fall season. Under Myers, the Salisbury football team became known as a perennial New England powerhouse, compiling undefeated seasons in 1920, 1921, 1923, 1930, and 1932. The 1921 season was particularly noteworthy, as the team outscored their five opponents 304-0. Two students from that era, Emerson B. Quaile and Harry K. Cross, both Class of 1918, went on to be named to the All-American football team while competing as student-athletes for Yale University. Myers was also an outstanding baseball coach, leading his teams to undefeated seasons in 1932 and 1933. Absolutely dedicated to the School and especially the boys, Myers established a tradition of taking Sixth Formers on the football team to a Yale game once every fall. In 1942, following the untimely death of Headmaster Emerson B. Quaile, Myers was asked to serve as Acting Headmaster while a search for Quaile’s successor was conducted. He relinquished his coaching duties in 1948 for health reasons but continued his inspired work in the classroom for 14 more years. Often referred to as “the indomitable J.C. Myers”, he retired in 1962 after 46 years on the faculty at Salisbury School.

Robert Gardner 

Bob Gardner was appointed to the faculty in 1952 soon after his graduation from Wesleyan University. A renowned instructor in Chemistry and Physics, he was equally skilled as a coach of both football and baseball. Partnering with Tom Dorsey, they led an undefeated campaign in the fall of 1955, and later that decade, when he assumed the reins as head football coach, the team amassed an enviable record season after season. From 1957-1964, his teams won 26 of 35 games. Gardner also coached the baseball team with long-time colleague, Hop Rudd. In later years, he became a prolific author and penned a number of works about sports, including co-authoring The Forgotten Players: The Story of Black Baseball in America. Gardner retired in 1989 after 37 dedicated years of service. Bob’s wife, Natalie, was a fixture at baseball games for all of their years on the Hilltop, serving as the official scorekeeper. The varsity diamond is dedicated in her honor. 

The Reverend A. Janney Hutton

In the spring of 1930, Headmaster George Quaile purchased the School’s first two crew shells, and racing on Lake Washinee began. Janney Hutton quickly volunteered to become the School’s first coach. Hutton had rowed for the legendary Cambridge crew during his years as a student and raced many times against archrival Oxford. He was thrilled to draw on his experience and guide the boys in those early years of crew. Hutton was known to wear his Cambridge team blazer “on all appropriate occasions” and often said that “Cambridge took their rowing far more serious than Oxford!” He coached the team from 1930-1937. Hutton also served as the School’s first skiing coach. After the death of Reverend George Quaile, Hutton assumed the role as Acting Headmaster and served for the rest of the school year. He left Salisbury in 1937 and answered a call to lead Christ Church, a mountain parish in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. 

Jeffrey P. Walker   

Jeff Walker was one of a number of talented men hired by Headmaster George Langdon at the onset of his tenure as Headmaster. Walker had studied under Langdon as a student at Pomfret School and then had attended Yale University where he was named captain of the men’s crew team. After serving as an Officer in the Navy, he joined the faculty in 1946. First as a teacher of French and then as an exemplary Business Manager, Walker served the School for 22 dedicated years, 1946-1968. After his retirement from the faculty to pursue other career endeavors, Walker was appointed to the Board of Trustees, serving as Chairmen from 1972-1976. He remains an Emeritus Trustee of the School. Colleagues, friends, and students laud his many contributions over the years to Salisbury. Jeff Walker epitomizes “the Salisbury Gentleman.”

Roswell H. Rudd 

Hop Rudd’s name will forever be synonymous with Salisbury athletics. A distinguished athlete at Yale University, he joined the school community in 1948 and for the next quarter century blessed the Hilltop with dedication and generous spirit. Replacing the legendary J.C. Myers as Athletic Director, Hop wasted no time putting his own stamp on Salisbury athletics and guided the program with great success. While he led both the hockey and baseball teams, Hop is known as “The Father of Salisbury Hockey.” Prior to the advent of artificial rinks, he created playing surfaces for the boys anywhere he could find, on different areas of Lake Washinee, ponds located on campus, and even on frozen fields. His teams played on the first land rink in 1962 and then on the first covered rink in 1967. In 1972, the first artificial rink was constructed on campus and aptly named, Rudd Rink, in his honor. Following his retirement, Salisbury played hockey in the Rudd Hockey Conference during the 1970’s and 1980’s, and each year, the Roswell H. Rudd Hockey Award is given to the student who makes the greatest contribution to the team’s success. Hop’s teams enjoyed their fair share of success, especially in the 1950’s and 1960’s. His 1956 team earned 14 victories in 16 games, and from 1965-1967, they won three consecutive Connatonic League championships. Many of his players went on to play college hockey at all levels. On the baseball diamond, he partnered with colleague, Bob Gardner, and led the Salisbury nine to two decades of successful campaigns. The 1959 baseball team was especially noteworthy, winning the Connatonic League Cup with an impressive record. Hop and his wife, Jo, after whom the Rudd Learning Center is dedicated, retired in 1972.

William R. Nonnenmacher

While Salisbury boys began playing “Association Football” in 1906, it was not until 1956 that the School fielded its first soccer team and, in 1957, its first true varsity team. William Nonnenmacher was an obvious choice as coach. While he was a distinguished teacher of French, he also demonstrated remarkable skills on the playing fields. A brilliant athlete in his own right, he spent five seasons on the Swiss National team. Former players fondly remember his iconic pose on the sidelines during games, his ability to instill confidence in others, and the extraordinary skills he displayed in practice. The Class of 1959 dedicated their yearbook to their teacher, coach, and mentor with the inscription, “By your unstinting effort and your obvious love of sports, you have raised Salisbury soccer and skiing to unprecedented heights.” William Nonnenmacher will be forever remembered as “The Father of Salisbury Soccer.” 

Robert H. Mead 

Robin Mead is known as “the Founder of the Salisbury wrestling program.” A Yale University graduate, he came to Salisbury in 1962 to teach math and Economics. Early in his tenure, he also assumed the role of Director of the College Counseling, and in the years that followed help guide students into their undergraduate careers. As the long-time head coach of the wrestling team, Robin won the hearts of his boys with his commitment and passion for the sport. His 1967 team went undefeated (10-0), and over the years, droves of Salisbury wrestlers won recognition across New England under his tutelage. At the end of each season, The Robert Mead Wrestling Award is given to that member of the team that shows the qualities of good sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the sport of wrestling. Robin served on the faculty 26 years, retiring in 1988 to his beloved “Yale Farm” with his wife, Henny. Both the former and new wrestling facilities are named in honor of his contributions to the sport at Salisbury by grateful, loyal graduates.

Gordon S. Reid 

Tennis has long been a favorite pastime for boys on the Hilltop. Beginning in 1906, annual tournaments were held with participants from neighboring schools joining the competition. However, it was not until 1957, when Gordon Reid joined the faculty, that tennis rose to prominence at Salisbury. Reid was a favorite among both students and colleagues for his warm smile and sense of diplomacy, a trait he may have developed while working years earlier at the U.S. Department of State. Reid taught history for many years and later served as the School’s Director of Admissions. As a coach, Reid was passionate about the sport, and his teams played with great fervor. Early on, the varsity won as many as they lost, but beginning in 1962, Salisbury strung together five seasons of dominant play, winning 32 matches and losing one in that time period against the best competition in New England. The Gordon S. Reid Tennis Award is given each year in his memory to the most valuable player on the team. Gordon Reid passed away in 1981 after 25 years of service to Salisbury.

Edward R. Childs

Ted Childs came to Salisbury School in 1966 to serve as the School’s Assistant Headmaster. A revered campus leader, Childs’ gruff demeanor at times hid what most realized in time was the real truth, that he had a heart of pure gold. Nevertheless, his famous notes to students, “See me, T.C.,” struck fear into the hearts of third and sixth formers alike. On the athletic fields, Childs was at his best. His teams were disciplined, hard-working, and demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship. They were also quite successful. In nine years as Salisbury’s head football coach, he led his teams to a combined 40-21 record. Fittingly, his last team, the 1975 squad, went undefeated against all seven opponents, earning Childs his first clean slate. In 1971, Childs introduced the sport of lacrosse to the Hilltop and in the years since, Salisbury has become known as a perennial New England powerhouse in the sport. Childs left Salisbury in the summer of 1980 to serve as Headmaster at Falmouth Academy in Massachusetts. However, he remains a legendary figure in the School’s athletic history. In honoring his legacy, the Edward R. Childs Football Award is given annually to the boy “whose hard work, devotion, and courage have best exemplified the Salisbury spirit.”

Bruce A. Blodgett

In the fall of 1971, Bruce Blodgett joined the Salisbury faculty and immediately began a journey that would bring Salisbury oarsmen to new heights. A leading rower as an undergraduate at Brown University, Blodgett was a disciplined, committed athlete and brought these same values to his work as crew coach on the Hilltop. Among Blodgett’s many gifts to the School and the crew program was his commitment to international competition for the rowers. His teams traveled extensively throughout the years, making early summer stops in England, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and Switzerland, winning schoolboy championships in four of those countries. He also led the School’s first seven trips to the famed Royal Henley Regatta in England, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1988, and 1990, the pinnacle of international schoolboy rowing. In 1976, Salisbury raced against college crews in coxless fours at The Visitor’s Cup at Henley, making it to the finals before losing to the University of London. In addition, the 1983 crew was exchanging leads with Eton, the eventual winner of the Princess Elizabeth Cup, before losing by a canvas. Still, this effort remains one of Salisbury’s best finishes at historic Henley. Finally, under Blodgett’s leadership, the 1978 crew was crowned the best schoolboy four in the U.S. Many oarsmen went on to compete at the highest levels in their undergraduate years following Salisbury, and three graduates, Tom Kiefer (1984 at Los Angeles), Gregg Montesi (1984 at Los Angeles), and Porter Collins (1996 at Atlanta & 2002 at Sydney), competed at the Olympic Games. In the classroom, Blodgett taught English, and later served as both Dean of Faulty and Dean of Studies. In the afternoons, he coached cross-country and crew. His career encompassed nearly 30 years, 1971-2000. Blodgett left Salisbury to become Headmaster at Boulder Preparatory High School in Colorado.

Carl H. Williams

Skiing first arrived as an official sport at Salisbury in 1931, as the School divided into two squads, the Berkshires and the Taconics, to race each other. In 1939, the first Salisbury Invitational Ski Meet was held with boys participating in three competitions, cross-country, slalom, and jumping contests. The G. Herbert Semler ’09 team trophy was presented to the leading school. However, in the fall of 1963, Carl Williams joined the Salisbury faculty and the “modern era” of skiing at Salisbury was born. Williams served on the faculty for more than 20 years, teaching mathematics and serving in important administrative roles, including Director of Admission, Director of College Placement, and Assistant Headmaster. He also loved exploring the outdoors and inspired students to do the same. In the summertime, Williams led rugged canoe treks through the Canadian wilds, but when the first snow fell each year, Williams strapped on his skis and led the Salisbury racers to great success in the Berkshire Ski League. He remained a coach through 2012, the longest-tenured coach in Salisbury history and an icon throughout the New England schoolboy racing scene. In honor of his incredible loyalty and many contributions to Salisbury, the Williams Ski Award is given annually “to that member of the ski team who has consistently displayed outstanding effort, desire, and sportsmanship.” In addition, the Berkshire Ski League Carl Williams Slalom Championship, held at the end of each season, also honors his legacy.

David F. Harris ‘37

A member of the Class of 1937, a dedicated teacher, coach and advisor, and a lifetime member of the Board of Trustees, David Harris was a Salisbury man through and through. He epitomizes many of the School’s most cherished core values, “loyalty, honor, service, and devotion.” Entering the military shortly after graduating from Yale University, he completed Officers Candidate School and trained extensively with the 10th Mountain Division. He participated in action in the Aleutian Islands and in the Italian Campaign, receiving both the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his bravery. After his service, Harris attended Harvard Business School, earning an M.B.A., and then returned to serve on the faculty at Salisbury. As a teacher of Spanish and mathematics, he brought great enthusiasm and expertise to his work with students. Harris also was deeply passionate about sports, especially skiing, and he was an exceptional coach on the Hilltop for many years. In later years, David Harris left teaching and entered the business world, working as a private investor and entrepreneur. Nevertheless, he maintained strong ties to the School, serving as a Board member throughout his life. Jane Harris, David’s wife of more than 60 years, has continued the Harris legacy of serving and supporting Salisbury School, playing a major role in bringing the new Flood Athletic Center to life.

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