As Al Dhembe walked across Lantana’s Restaurant floor to humbly accept his induction to the Massachusetts High School Hall of Fame this past Sunday evening, almost 50 years of his life flashed before him. Starting with his freshman year at Tantasqua in 1964, Al Dhembe has been the EXAMPLE to everyone he came in contact with. Dhembe was born with the heart of a warrior and a soul of compassion and humility.
Yes, Al Dhembe is human, but to his family, friends, and opponents, Al Dhembe always leaves you with encouragement. Dhembe has totaled 40 years as a mentor to young individuals who wanted to be part of the "Dhembe Philosophy." At the end of a practice or season, Dhembe’s main goal was to make sure that the group he just spent one day or 3 months with were going to be "good men, good husbands, and good fathers." Character was the virtue that Dhembe wanted instilled in his program at Bay Path.
Please do not forget that Bay Path was and still is in an awkward position when it comes to athletics. Students go to Bay Path to succeed in learning a trade that they can use later in life to support their families. The Bay Path athlete is not into AAU or attending summer camps to refining his or her athletic skills. That’s what makes Dhembe’s mark on Bay Path so unique.
I remember when Bay Path opened their doors in the 70s.They were part of the then Border Conference and were thrown to the athletic wolves. They were playing the "iron" week in and week out. Their maiden voyage in sports was a very painful experience. The student population came from a radius of 30 miles and the students did not see the benefit of athletics at the time. They had jobs after school that were consistent with the trade they were learning during school hours.
During the late 60s and early 70s Dhembe cut his coaching teeth at schools that included WPI, Tantasqua, and Shepherd Hill. He was an original assistant coach at Shepherd Hill when they began their program in the mid 70’s. Dhembe’s coaching goal was to be a head coach after landing a teaching job at Bay Path,as they say "the rest is history."
At Bay Path the "Dhembe Philosophy" began. Fundamentals were improvised in a way that Dhembe incorporated blocking and tackling in such a repetitive way that his teams began to take on the reputation as being "well coached." Acknowledging that a program is well coached is the highest compliment in the coaching arena .Bay Path blocked and tackled better than their opponents.The practice schedule was crystal clear every day, and not a second was wasted. Practices were crisp and the coaches were teachers and the players were students .Hard work turned into winning, and winning meant a lot of fun.
Bay Path’s numbers grew for their football roster and the Mugget Hill was affected in a way that noboby ever imagined. Coaches in other sports at Bay Path observed from afar and they took hold of the "Dhembe Philosophy." Along came pride for wearing the purple and gold and as you can see from Dhembe’s records, and pride had to be backed up every year for the last 20 years. To sum up Dhembe’s coaching belief, the Bay Path football player was never put in a situation that he wasn’t prepared for in a game. Dhembe and his loyal assistants made it a rule to do so.
I could go on forever on the great career of Al Dhembe at Bay Path.There is not another program that ever accomplished in 20 years what Dhembe and his assistant coaches and most of all his players achieved up there on Mugget Hill in Charlton. Not Brockton or St.John’s or the New England Patriots have ever had the consistency over 20 years that Al Dhembe and Bay Path own.
AL DHEMBE’S 30 YEARS AT BAY PATH
17 Colonial Athletic League Championships
10 Divisional Championships
3 State Vocational Super Bowl Appearances/2 Victories
10 Central Mass Super Bowl Appearances
3 Super Bowl Victories: 2000, 2001, and 2011
30 Years Head Coach at Bay Path
4 Undefeated Seasons at Bay Path: 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1993
Central Mass Referees Sportsmanship Award in 1991 MIAA Sportsmanship Award: 1996 and 2005
Shriner’s All Star Football game assistant coach in 1990
Joe Mewhiney Central Mass All Star National Football and Hall of Fame football Head coach in 1991
Joe Mewhiney chapter National Football abd Hall of Fame contribution to football award 2009
Who’s who Among American Teachers in 1996
AL DHEMBE AT TANTASQUA AND BOSTON COLLEGE
Earned 7 letters at Tantasqua: 4/football,3/baseball
Delwin Ginn award (football student athlete award)
First ever Norman "Bumpy" Howlett memorial award for baseball
Central Mass football scoring record in 1967, 106 ponts in 8 game schedule.
High School All American
Border Conference baseball all star
Captain in football and baseball at Tantasqua
Earned 3 letters at Boston College in football
Was an All East /All New England at linebacker while at Boston College
Bay Path football coaches 1976-1981, 1988-2011
Varsity and Freshmen
Bob Beaudry, Keith Bigness, Brandon Blom, Fran Bouley, Roger Busha, Gary Chumsae, John Chumsae, Tom Connor, Mark Constanzi, Tim Cushing, Fran Deary, Dave Doyen, Steve Duff, Bill Emrich, Mike Eszes, Bill Feraco, Mark French, Craig Gajewski, Mike Garon, Dave George, Clay Giroux, Al Grenough, Paul Hefner, Ed Jarosz, Adam Jenkins, Mike Kingsley, Mitch Krouner, Tom Lambert, John Lango, Mike Lataille, Mike Lavin, Jim Lazo, Dave Matte, Dick Mattei, Ryan Minns, Paul Newsham, Wayne Nystrom, Rusty Oleszewski, Dean Packard, Jim Pedone, Scott Phipps, Bob Reidy, Dennis Richards, Rudy Sabatinelli, Mike Salvaggio, Tony Salvaggio, Mark Sansoucy, Brian Schofield, John Selen, Fran Sepuka, Bill Sullivan, Steve "Rocky" Thompson, Steve Tromblay, Jim White, and Dave Wood.
- Wednesday, 02 May 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Peter Coyle