If there was an Everett High game, awards banquet, letter-of-intent signing ceremony, or ‘E’ Club Dinner Jack McGrath was most likely in attendance.
And his warm and gracious presence would be received heartily by the athletes, coaches, school officials and parents. Jack McGrath always had the students’ best interests in mind and they sincerely appreciated his support and enjoyed his broadcasting of their games on the local cable television station.
One of the proudest days for Jack McGrath and his family was the dedication ceremony of the press box at Everett Veterans Memorial Stadium in his honor.
John “Jack” McGrath Jr., a beloved resident of this city and a former baseball star at Boston College, died on Feb. 25. He was 87.
Like so many in the city, Jack McGrath closely followed the successes of the vaunted Everett High football program, notably during the current era led by former Hall of Fame coach John DiBiaso and current head coach Theluxon Pierre.
“You’re talking about a legend in Everett, a selfless person that would give anything in the world to help people,” said Pierre. “He was all about Everett kids. He was one of the first persons to call and congratulate me when I became head coach. He was always there for our team. Words can’t describe this great person that we have lost. He was truly a great man.”
Maureen DiBiaso, EHS cheerleading coach and wife of the legendary football coach, said her family’s relationship with Mr. McGrath goes many years, recalling how her father, the late William Shields, would often converse with Mr. McGrath at Everett games.
Maureen and John DiBiaso and their son, former All-Scholastic quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso, attended the memorial observances for Jack McGrath.
“My husband has known Jack since the days of the Everett Rats [youth basketball team],” said Mrs. DiBiaso. “When I met my husband, I met Jack and Jack is the most wonderful person, kind, generous – everybody loved him. He made feel everybody feel so good. He was a great, great guy and a great supporter for Everett sports. He supported all the kids of Everett. He was the best of the best. He will be missed. The games will never be same without Jack here.”
Director of Athletics Tammy Turner conducted moments of silence for Mr. McGrath before the tapoffs of the EHS girls and boys state tournament games at the high school.
“I go back all 19 of my years in Everett with Jack, ever since my career started at Everett High,” said Turner, who has also coached the girls basketball team. “He was my No. 1 fan – he knew more coaching stats about me that I knew about me. He always encouraged me even in my toughest seasons. I feel like Jack was the heart and soul of Everett sports. He was just such a great man.”
Frank DePatto, administrator for the EHS Department of Athletics, said, “Jack McGrath is a legend in the city of Everett. It’s an institution here, so very knowledgeable about Everett sports and always so helpful to kids with scholarships and awards. He is surely going to be missed.”
Linda Maloney, administrative assistant in the Everett schools, also paid tribute to Jack McGrath this week. “Jack McGrath was such a gentleman,” said Maloney. “I was so happy to be considered a friend of his. He was always concerned about the kids. He loved Everett sports and had such a passion. We’ll certainly miss him. Rest in peace, Jack.”
Vinnie Panzini, past president of the ‘E’ Club, said, “Jack is the all-time legend with sports and students at Everett High. He’s been working with these programs and these kids for many years. There was no kinder, no better gentleman than Jack. He was an ambassador for the school system, the kids – you can’t give enough accolades to what he meant to Everett for generations of families. And they all loved him.”
Larry Denish summed up the majesty of Jack McGrath: “He was one of the greatest guys I knew around Everett sports. He was a great personality and a great guy. He had a great temperament and was a real gentleman. We’re going to miss you, Jack.”