2013 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees
The Williston Northampton Athletic Hall of Fame was formed to honor those alumni/ae, coaches, and teams who have brought distinction to themselves and the school through their achievements, commitment, sportsmanship, and leadership in athletics. The Hall of Fame, the selection process, and the induction ceremonies is designed to instill in our students and community a sense of purpose, passion, and integrity.
Over 138 individuals, 45 teams, and 13 coaches were nominated for the inaugural hall of fame class.
Nominations are now being accepted for next year’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Eligible candidates who were nominated, but not chosen this year, will be automatically added to the nomination list for next year. Nomination forms may be found at www.williston.com/halloffame. The next induction ceremonies will occur on Saturday, June 7, 2014.
Coach Wilmot “Babs” Babcock
Accumulating an astounding record of 341-47-2 over 20 years, Coach Wilmot “Babs” Babcock certainly knew how to win. After starting the Williston Academy swimming program in 1951, Coach Babcock took the team to 15 New England Championships — 11 of them in a row. This legacy also produced 15 national prep champions.
Coach Babcock attended Springfield College as a wrestler, and completed graduate work at Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and Boston University. He was named business manager at Williston Academy in 1943.
Described as a “legend” by those who knew him, Coach Babcock’s success lay in his ability to both attract and develop some of the best swimmers in New England, said Rev. Dr. Theodore Babcock, who swam for the coach.
“Williston’s absolute dominance in swimming during his coaching years is a testament to Babs’ skill as a coach and leader,” Rev. Babcock wrote.
Coach Babcock passed away on May 29, 1978 and the school’s pool was named in his honor.
Coach Ray Brown ’55
Coach Ray Brown has lifted more than a few trophies in his time and has been inducted into not one, but two halls of fame.
After graduating from Williston Academy in 1955, Coach Brown attended Kenyon College where he played soccer and basketball. He returned to Williston in 1959 and remained at the school for the next 43 years. He taught physics and math at Williston while coaching boys soccer (1965-1993) and girls basketball (1976-2002).
In soccer, Coach Brown accumulated a 201-143-68 record, including two Stewart Cup Championships (1977, 1978). He coached five All-Americans, seven All-New England players, and 43 All-League selections. In 1992, Coach Brown was inducted
into the Massachusetts High School Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame.
Coach Brown had a 322-202 record coaching girls basketball. His teams qualified for the New England tournament 11 times and were crowned champions in 1986 and runners up in 1997. In recognition of his successes, Coach Brown was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Coach Rick Francis was the kind of person who not only worked tirelessly with athletes on the football field and basketball court, but served as a mentor off the field.
“He was always quick with a smile, a hearty hello, and a word of encouragement,” wrote Peter Kostos ’87 in his nomination.
“He was also a surrogate parent, somebody we could trust and come to with a problem that we felt we could not ask somebody else.”
Coach Francis graduated from Choate School in 1952. He played football for the CCA (Third Armored Division) in Germany in 1956 and was on the football, track, and baseball teams at Wesleyan University, graduating in 1958 with a degree in psychology.
Coach Francis is the past president of the Western New England Preparatory School Athletic Association, New England Preparatory School Athletic Council, and Western Mass chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.
As Williston Northampton’s coach and the school’s athletic director, Coach Francis led the football program to a 165-148-7 record, including undefeated seasons in 1963 and 1981, and also led boys basketball to a 176-159-1 record.
Martha Grinnell ’85
On the cross-country course, no one could catch Martha Grinnell ’85. They still can’t—Ms. Grinnell’s course record of 19:40 over 3.3 miles remains today.
One of the most decorated runners in school history, Ms. Grinnell went undefeated in dual meets over two years, holding course records at five schools by the time she graduated.
She was no slouch off the course, either. At graduation, Ms. Grinnell was presented with the White Blazer, as the top senior girl. Ms. Grinnell continued her success at Springfield College, earning All-American and Northeast 10 champion status in 1987, as well as being a national qualifier in 1988. She was later inducted into the Springfield College Hall of Fame.
Ms. Grinnell ran on the U.S. Pro World Championship Triathlon Team from 1992 to 1995, was ranked third nationwide at the 1994 Olympic distance triathlon, and was a member of the 1994 Goodwill Games team. She placed seventh at the 1997 Hawaii Ironman World Championship, and second at the U.S. Pro National Championship in 1994 and 1997. She also qualified for the first ever U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team trials in 2000.
Ms. Grinnell returned to the Pioneer Valley to coach cross-country at Smith College; she now coaches professionally through her company, Dynamic Training.
Patrick Rissmiller ’97
Was there any title that Patrick Rissmiller ’97 didn’t earn? It doesn’t seem likely. During his time at Williston, the ice hockey star led the team to a 23-4 record, the most wins in school history.
In his senior year, Mr. Rissmiller was named captain and MVP. While cranking out enough points to put him in third for all-time single season totals, Mr. Rissmiller was named an All-New England selection, and NEPSAC West Senior All-Star.
At the College of the Holy Cross, Mr. Rissmiller was named to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference All-Rookie team in 1999; he received the titles of Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-MAAC selection in 2002. He ranks second in career points for the college and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2010.
Mr. Rissmiller has played 538 games in the AHL, where he was named a 2006 and 2010 All-Star. He has also played 222 games for NHL teams, including the San Jose Sharks, New York Rangers, Atlanta Thrashers, and Florida Panthers. He has 21 goals and 35 assists in the NHL—at least so far.
Mark Timm ’76
Whether he was taking to the court or the field, Mark Timm ’76 was simply outstanding. As starting quarterback on the varsity football team his freshman year, Mr. Timm passed for 609 yards and ran for 192 yards, leading the team in both statistics.
In the spring, Mr. Timm was such an all-around baseball player that the major leagues scouted him. When scouts told him to drop football, Mr. Timm switched to soccer.
As a sophomore, Mr. Timm was named the soccer team’s MVP. As a junior he was the team’s captain, earning MVP and All-League honors. In his senior year, Mr. Timm received All-New England and All-American honors; he was the school’s first male soccer player to earn All-American status.
When not on the soccer field, Mr. Timm was also dominating in basketball, setting the school’s scoring record (1,020 points) and making the All-Star team.
Mr. Timm started at second base on the Stanford University varsity baseball team as a freshman walk-on. He was captain of the Junior National Soccer Team (USA) in Europe before going on to play for the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Mr. Timm passed away in January 2006. His brother Gil Timm ’72 is accepting the award on his behalf.
David “Duff” Tyler ’63
David “Duff” Tyler ’63 was a record-setting swimmer and a soccer player. As part of the 1963 swim team, he set national records in the 50 free, 100 free, and 200 free and was named All-American for those events as well as the 200 medley relay, 200 free relay, and 100 butterfly.
At Trinity College, Mr. Tyler earned All-American honors three times, was a national champion in the 500 free, a national runner-up in the 200 free, and set seven Trinity records.
Mr. Tyler returned to Williston, where he was an assistant coach under Wilmot Babcock (1968-1972) and head coach (1972-1973). He moved to Florida in 1973 and coached at St. Andrew’s School for 22 years, amassing 627 wins. Under his leadership, girls swimming went undefeated in 1987 and that year won the state and national championships.
Mr. Tyler, who also coached the Bahamian National Team at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, was later inducted into the St. Andrew’s Hall of Fame. He made such a mark on the school, and created such a legacy, that St. Andrew’s swimming facility was later named after him.
1953 Boys Swimming Team
In 1953, the boys swimming team was among the strongest in the nation. Led by Coach Wilmot Babcock, the swimmers had an average meet score of 48.1-25.7 (+22.4) and formed one of the top10 teams in the country — on a list that featured colleges.
Among the accolades the swimming team garnered that year were the national prep records for the 100 freestyle, 200 free, 200 free relay, and 150 medley relay. Team members would set nine pool records for the 50 free (Harlow “Chip” Ide ’55), 100 free (Rex Aubrey ’53), 150 IM (Don Miller), and the medley relay.
At the heart of the team were swimmers like Mr. Aubrey, an All-American in five events — who would later become a national champion in the 50 free and 100 free, and an Olympian, representing Australia, in 1952. The team also included All-American Jack Erickson ’53, a New England champion in diving, and four other All-Americans: Don Miller (100 breast), Ed FitzSimmons ’53 (150 IM relay, 200 free, 100 free, 200 free relay), Theodore “Skip” Kurrus ’53 (200 free, 100 free, 200 free relay) and Chip Ide (150 IM relay, 50 free, 200 free relay).
1963 Football Team
The 1963 football team had a perfect 7-0 record under the leadership of Coach Rick Francis and captains Dick Buckley ’64 and Bob Montgomery ’64. In the first undefeated (and untied) season since 1895, the Williston Academy team was the highest scoring prep team in New England.
During their incredible run, the Williston football players outscored their opponents 256 to 59. They were led in this effort by Dan Cain ’64, whose record as leading rusher was 1,007 yards on 148 carries. Mr. Cain had a 6.18-yard average, 16 touchdowns, and 10 bonus points for 116 points in seven games. For his effort, Mr. Cain was named honorary captain and starting left halfback on the New England All-Prep Team.
John Lyons ’64 averaged 8.4 yards per carry (for 353 yards on 42 carries) and the defense allowed just nine touchdowns. Rocky Rockwell (tackle), Steve Durant ’64 (fullback), Robert “Doc” Dionisi ’64 (guard), and Mr. Lyons (halfback) received honorable mentions for the New England All-Prep team. Mr. Durant also received the Frank Boyden Trophy.