Athletic Teams

Sanborn, Hall, Kormann, Dowling, Hancock

From Mark Desjardins '84, faculty member 1988-1991
What I remember most about the coaching staff at Cushing is that first and foremost they were passionate about connecting with kids. One of my favorite memories was my first varsity basketball game against Tabor Academy and at halftime we head into the locker room to de-brief and Coach Bob Hall is walking around and reaches into his pocket and takes out a cigarette, lights it up, takes a puff, then dives right into a half-time speech. As teammates we are all looking at each other wondering what the heck is going on...also remember Coach Hall's ritual of giving out a stick of Wrigley's gum to each player before the game.

That same year we were playing NMH at home--they had a great team with several PGs and we had a late run going into the 4th quarter. Jeff Creech hit a jump shot, NMH calls time-out, and I ran over to the crowd--Coach Kormann had to come over and grab me and get me back into the huddle. Hall looks at me and says, "Jesus Christ Desjardins what in hell are doing? "Just got a little excited," I said. We ended up winning the game and Doc Curry was fired up since he always wanted us to beat NMH.

As a faculty member, I just recall what great mentors Dave K, Bill Wenning, and all the coaches were. Wenning in particular was a great teacher of basketball and pushed us hard. I recall a great game against Andover in 1989 where we were up by a few points and trying to nurse a lead in the 4th quarter and the ref right in front on our bench made a horrible call. Instinctively, I jumped up and said something to the ref....who stopped, blew his whistle, and came right over to Bill and said so all the crowd could hear, "next time that assistant speaks to me I'm going to tee you up coach." Wenning wagged his finger in my face and had a few choice words for me. We ended up winning and I kept my mouth shut....but after the game Bill was really gracious to me. Knowing that I messed up he apologized for yelling at me in the heat of moment....wonder if he would have done that had we lost?

Kidding aside, I never forgot that lesson of learning that it was okay to follow up and turn a mistake into a teachable moment. Finally, as a head of school for the past 17 years, I always make sure after a tough loss to walk into the locker room (boys) and or bench for the girls and just put my arm around a player or coach and simply try to comfort them. As AD, Wayne Sanborn was in plenty of locker rooms after some tough losses and I always appreciated that his presence meant that he cared. All the coaches cared and that came across in spades and made my time at Cushing both as a student and later as a faculty member impactful and meaningful.

Thanks Coach, indeed!

Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.