The Summer of Holman begins with a splash of Fame

It’s the Summer of Holman Stadium.

Its all-day 80th Birthday Celebration, which also includes the Futures League All-Star Game, most know by now is set for Tuesday, July 17.

But every summer we celebrate Holman, don’t we? That’s because every year on July 4 the Nashua Lions Club inducts worthy figures from the stadium’s and city’s athletic past (or even present) into the Holman Hall of Fame.

The four inductees this year are former Nashua football heroes George and Jim Tebbetts, current Silver Knights manager (and former longtime Nashua High School/Nashua South coach B.J. Neverett) as well as current Alderman and former longtime Park-Recreation Director June Caron.

Let the celebration begin.

We’ve always said how great this is as a way to honor Nashua athletic achievments played, coached, coordinated and even described at the marvelous facility that draws rave reviews from all who come to visit it.

The names and photos on the wall on the main concourse are a who’s who of Nashua’s glorious past. And the people joining them this year are certainly well deserved.

“When they brought it in I thought it was a great idea,” Caron said. “How they were going to figure out who to give this to was the big challenge. You have to think about from this point to this point every year, and you can only do so many at a time. But they’ve done a good job.”

The whole thing was the one good thing the Pride’s independent league baseball replacement, the American Defenders, came up with in 2009. The Lions Club then took it over after the Defenders were booted out (all part of Holman lore) later that summer.

You’ve got to appreciate the emotions these inductees experience when they find out they’re being honored in a special way.

“I was overcome greatly,” Caron said. “I was stunned by it.”

Caron has been involved in getting a lot of events into Holman, but one stands out. And it may be a surprise.

“I think it was when we did the first Babe Ruth Girls Softball Tournament ever in the tournament (about 25 years ago),” Caron said. “When Babe Ruth took over the girls program. And when we had the regional tournament there. We had a great time.”

George Tebbetts is being inducted along with his brother Jim, another special moment for an iconic Nashua family.

“We had a cookout (recently) and the entire family was there,” George said. “There we were in the back yard, looking at each other, saying ‘Can you believe this?’

Both were great linemen at Nashua High School during the Buzz Harvey era, a few years apart.

“Just the tradition of playing there,” George Tebbetts said. “As a 6-year-old, going under the stand, sitting (legs curled) watching these Clydesdales, big dudes.”

Yes, you read correctly. Tebbetts lived across the street from the facility and as a kid he would sneak in under the fence to watch the high school play.

“The stadium has been in my blood since I was in the first grade,” he said. “It’s (the Hall recognition) terrific.”

George and Jim Tebbetts came from an era in the late 1950s-mid 1960s when Harvey and Tony Mirandos elevated football in Nashua to the point where players were recruited by big schools because they played their high school ball against big schools from the Boston area and other Massachusetts teams. New Hampshire football wasn’t developed yet.

They’re all intertwined. Caron was running Park-Rec with George Tebbetts as one of her Pop Warner coaches. And Neverett was a top running back for Tebbetts’ teams that went to two Pop Warner Bowl games. Jim Tebbetts was also a top-notch baseball player for Nashua at the Babe Ruth, Legion, and high school levels, while both were All-State football linemen.

Neverett, of course, became a top-notch coach, a football assistant but then longtime Nashua baseball coach and, as Silver Knights manager and VP of Player Personnel, has taken the Stadium into its newest era. His selection is certainly fitting, as the Lions caught different eras of Holman, all overlapping. Neverett will be managing the Silver Knights at Worcester Wednesday night so he’ll be inducted separately when the Knights are back home on Friday.

“As a native,” he said recently, “this is a big deal.”

The whole thing is a nice lead-in to the July 17 celebration.

“Absolutely,” Caron said. “It just shows how the community is so involved with Holman Stadium.”

Let the Summer of Holman begin.

Tom King can be reached at 594-1251,tking@nashuatelegraph.com, or@Telegraph _TomK.