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Monday, April 5, 2010

Coach’s honor, retiree spotted, Bruins chances worth mentions

Tom King

It’s back to work from the Easter holiday and time to mull over a few tids and bits while enjoying this fine start to spring:

n Congratulations to Nashua South High School varsity baseball coach B.J. Neverett for his recent induction into the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

Neverett is entering his 16th season as the Panthers head coach, but if you count his years as a Nashua football assistant, JV baseball, and Mount St. Mary head basketball coach (two years; forgot about that one, didn’t you?), the years of service certainly added up. In fact, they added up to a whopping 27 years.

“It was awesome,” Neverett said of earning the honor. “It was a nice way to be rewarded for the time.”

Indeed, as we know, coaching, especially in Nashua, is a labor of love and not money.

n Speaking of coaching in Nashua, don’t be surprised to see old friend Charlie Mellen at a Nashua South baseball game or two. Mellen, who retired after the 1994 season, going out a champion, is now living in Bradenton, Fla., where he’s chatted from time to time with another old friend, B.J. Neverett’s brother Tim, who is the Pittsburgh Pirates radio/TV play-by-play man.

Is it nostalgia that would bring Mellen back north for a few games here or there? Nope. It’s his grandson, South sophomore infielder/pitcher Jared Maloney. Mellen reportedly was a semi-fixture last spring at some South JV games when Maloney played.

“Oh, he’ll be up, I’m sure,” Neverett said.

n It’s the final countdown this week for the Boston Bruins. Pretty simple. Them, Philadelphia, Montreal, Atlanta and New York, five teams going for three spots. The guess here is the Thrashers and Rangers will remain where they have been lately – on the outside looking in.

The Bruins have the Capitals tonight on the road, you can probably forget that one. They host Buffalo on Thursday night (possible), Carolina on Saturday afternoon in the final regular season home game (probable) and wrap it all up on Sunday at Washington again. Yikes, the Caps on the road twice in the final week. Boston had better hope it doesn’t come down to that final game, because Washington can score with its eyes closed and the Bruins can’t with six pairs of eyes wide open on the ice.

n You may roll your eyes, but still one of, if not the best sports take in town is a Rivier College men’s volleyball match. Big weekend coming up for the Raiders down on Cape Cod as they compete for the Northeast Collegiate Volleyball Regional Championship, aiming for a spot in the national Division III Final Four. The Raiders are as athletic a group as these eyes have seen, and the Muldoon Center was as loud as ever in a 3-0 Great Northeast Conference championship win over Emmanuel College back on March 27.

Men’s volleyball will be on the rise, especially when it falls under the auspices of the NCAA in a year or so.

“When the automatic qualifiers kick in with the NCAA for all conferences, you’re going to see a lot of schools add men’s volleyball,” Daniel Webster College athletic director John Griffith said. “This will put even more focus on men’s volleyball. The sport will be just exploding.”

Riv, meanwhile, has won the NECVA title once before, back in 2006, the first such crown for any New England team. The Raiders are hoping to send top seniors Matt Ferreira, Zach Hansen and Kyle O’Neil out on a good note. Head coach Craig Kolek will definitely have his work cut out in replacing that group. Ferreira especially. He is, folks, as good an athlete as you will see around here.

n It’s official. Tiger Woods Week has begun. But really, hasn’t it seemed like that just about every week since Thanksgiving?

Tom King can be reached at 594-6468 or tking@nashuatelegraph.com.