With no fanfare whatsoever, Falmouth High School boys’ basketball head coach Paul Lundberg reached his 200th career win last year early in the season. No one, not even the coach, realized that he had passed the milestone until just a few weeks ago.
It’s no surprise to find out that Lundberg wasn’t sure how many wins he had until he sat down and went through his records. Those types of things don’t hold a lot of importance to him. This is the coach who doesn’t like the scoreboard operator at FHS to post players’ in-game score totals on the board because he doesn’t want them thinking about how many they’ve put in. What’s important to the coach is the next play, the next game, and doing things the right way.
That’s probably a big reason that the Clippers have enjoyed so much success over the years, and part of the reason that he’s being recognized this weekend by IAABO Board 54 as its 2014 recipient of the Paul Sargent Award, which he will be awarded at a dinner in Abington tomorrow night. The Sargent Award is presented annually to a local coach who, like Paul Sargent, achieved success without sacrificing sportsmanship or character. The basketball officials of Board 54, based out of Plymouth, selected the coach for their annual honor for a number of reasons, including his record, state tournament appearances, and the pen pal program he runs.
For the record, the coach’s record is pretty impressive. Over the course of his 17 seasons at Falmouth High School, the Clippers have gone 217-150. In state tournament games, his clubs have gone 15-10, including a trip to the 2010 Division 2 state championship game. Four times FHS has reached regional championship games under Lundberg, and they’ve also accumulated four league championships.
The pen pal program has been running for over 20 years now. Lundberg began it while teaching at East Falmouth School and carried it over to Morse Pond when he began teaching there last year. Hundreds of students from Falmouth have participated in the program each year, which is culminated with a special night at an FHS home game each year.
Lundberg said that he thinks his success is thanks in large part to the other coaches who have helped him out over the years. He pointed to the contributions of longtime assistant coach Al Patterson, along with his current assistants Steve Femino and Terry Rogers. He also said that coaches at the youth level, such as Gus Adams, Todd Oliveira and John Koss, have helped prepare players for the high school level. “It’s a team effort, there’s so many good people involved with basketball here in Falmouth,” the coach said.
People around the program have also made an impact, the coach said. The secretaries at East Falmouth School, Lillian Lomba and Bridgette Janerico, have supported the basketball program for years by putting together scrapbooks with all of the team’s clippings from the papers over the years and making sure that each player and coach has that keepsake at the end of the season, taking over the job from Margie Sharpe, who started the tradition. Even though Lundberg left East Falmouth for Morse Pond, the two ladies have continued to be diligent with their work in that area. Pete Johnson’s son DK was a star for FHS a few years back. Even though he no longer has a child in the program, Johnson still helps put together the Clippers’ program each year. Mark Kasprzyk’s son, Kyle, also was an all-star for FHS. Kyle graduated a year ago, but Mark was still videotaping all of the games and taking photos for the end-of-the-year slide show.
Lundberg said that he will speak of people like that during his acceptance speech. He also will recall a couple of the memorable games he’s been a part of, of which there are many. While looking back at his career, he pointed to a couple of favorites. There was a road game at Nauset with a trip to the regional finals on the line where there were more FHS fans than Warriors supporters in the stands, so much so that extra seating had to be brought into the gym. A buzzer-beater in the state tournament against Mansfield that saw Nelson Baptiste heave in a prayer from just inside midcourt. He smiled when recalling the nail-biter at UMass-Boston against Milton that earned FHS a trip to the EMass championship game, and the comeback win at the TD Garden that followed.
More than just the wins and losses, he loves thinking back at “all of the great kids we’ve had.” The names were flying off his tongue as he recalled both stars and reserves from teams who went way back to the beginning of his varsity career. “We’ve had some great kids that have gone on to accomplish great things when they’ve left,” he said. “We’ve had quality kids, with strong character. That’s what it’s all about.”