Holman Legends offer a great view of the glory days
The Nashua Lions Club Holman Stadium Sports Legends Hall of Fame voters always seems to get it right.
Thus, they’ve hit another one out of the park for this Thursday’s induction of the father-son duo of Bolic “Bouncer” Tamulevich and his son, Carl, plus Frank Ulcickas.
You see, the tribute paid to Holman’s historic nature helps link eras together. Bolic Tamulevich came from a time (1930) not on the forefront of anyone’s mind; and Carl Tamulevich and Ulcickas are a good link to an era (late 1950s, 1960s) that many in Nashua still treasure.
“I’m complimented to even be considered,” Ulcickas said. “There are a lot of great players in Nashua’s history. …
“Quite honestly, I think this honor for me is less of a personal accomplishment and it’s more of a testament to that era.”
That era in his mind began in the 1940s with the arrival of legendary coaches Buzz Harvey and Tony Mirandos, of course. And that era was a time when Nashua’s main rivals were Massachusetts teams, and when Holman would routinely draw four figure and five figure crowds. Nashua players went on to play at major colleges.
For Carl Tamulevich, the honor is immense because he’s sharing it with his late father.
“Being inducted with my Dad is something special,” he said. “He was a humble guy. He never talked much about it. I’d hear it from his teammates and friends. I remember walking downtown one day with him, we ran into Birdie Tebbetts – he might have been managing the Cleveland Indians at the time, and I was in awe – and he said my Dad played the wrong sport. … I didn’t realize my Dad played only one year of high school baseball, his senior year and they won the state championship.”
And he played it with Birdie, at first base. Other than that, Bolic was a legend on the 1929 and 1930 Nashua football teams.
The funny thing is Carl has had to look up a lot of the history on Bolic himself, finding out that in 1929-30 his father was selected to the Converse High School All-East team in basketball.
“I look at his football, he was a fullback and played linebacker,” he said.
Son Carl was the “Tammy” half of the great “Tammy and Grammy” offensive backfield from 1960-61, paired with Don Grandmaison, who Tamulevich feels was the best running back ever at Nashua. Carl’s father was his inspiration, and went to all his games. So that makes Thursday’s induction even more special.
Ulcickas and Tamulevich met in the 10th grade – remember, back then freshmen didn’t to to the high school – and have been friends ever since. Now it’s a long distance thing as Tamulevich has had a brilliant career working in the Navy athletic administration at Annapolis, still going strong on the job after 32 years.
“Carl was a star from Day One,” Ulcickas said.
Tamulevich, who went on to play at Navy, also played lacrosse there, something that he obviously didn’t play in Nashua as the sport was not introduced back then. He was a two-time All-American and is in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. How does that happen? Navy didn’t have a baseball team at its prep school, so he tried lacrosse and was a defenseman.
“Then at Navy I was going to play baseball,” Tamulevich said, but was heavily recruited by the coaches there to turn in his bat for a stick, and figured that “If a guy wanted me that badly, I should play lacrosse.”
Ulcickas credits legendary coaches Buzz Harvey and Tony Mirandos with the epic era. Harvey, of course, was a taskmaster, but he didn’t seem to yell much during those 1960-61 teams.
“I asked (Harvey) a question,” Tamulevich said. “‘How come you don’t yell and scream?’ when we were playing. He said, ‘I don’t have to.’
“We played for Nashua. And we played for him. I guess it was we didn’t want to disappoint anybody.”
And they didn’t, just like the Lions haven’t disappointed anyone with these selections.
We could go on and on about the honors, the titles, the teams, the era. Ulcickas was an end on a team that hardly ever threw, but he made it work, something he took with him to Harvard.
“When we played for Buzz and Tony, and went up to the line of scrimmage, I used to say to Paul Duquette, ‘Paul you’ve got him, I’ve got him.'”
Pretty simple. Back in those days there was even spring practice for high school, and the coaches, Ulcickas said.
“Frank was one of the most hard-nosed players I ever ran into,” Tamulevich said, “and I used to run into him in practice. He was kind of tough.”
And, as Tamulevich said, the fans showed up at Holman in droves. Not the same as it is today. “It was the thing to do on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon, go watch Nashua High football,” he said.
Thus today we honor yesterday. Well worth it.
“I think it’s a very good idea, and we try to tell the history as it is,” Ulcickas said. “I’m humbled by the award. They could pick a lot of people other than myself from that time.”
But it’s a time we should never forget. Why? Here’s why:
“I look at the guys who are already in (the Holman Hall),” Tamulevich said, ” and they’re all really special to Nashua.”
Happy Fourth, Holman Legends.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251, or@Telegraph_TomK, or firstname.lastname@example.org