School Committee candidate Lorraine Gately has 33 years of experience as a teacher and one very special connection to one of Lynn’s greatest basketball teams.
Gately, who taught at Eastern Junior High, English High School, Breed Middle School, and Pickering Middle School, was the assistant coach of the 1993-94 Lynn English girls basketball team.
What was so unique about that season?
The Lady Bulldogs, led by head coach Bryan King, and assistant coach Lorraine Gately, won the Northeastern Conference championship with a perfect 18-0 record.
Gately, who had played women’s basketball at North Shore Community College, helped launch the English freshman girls basketball team and co-founded the boosters organization. An English Class of 1972 graduate, she became an assistant in 1989 and was on the bench seated next to King during the entire undefeated season.
Senior Kerry Behn and juniors Deidre Jackson and Kara Lunden were the captains of the 1993-94 team. The other players on the team were Tanisha Kimber, Konzo Wavezwa, Mani Souvanthong, Erica Miles, Shannon Shachok, Andrea O’Brien, Becky Roy, Amy Reese, and Nicole Marcotte.
“Deidre Jackson and Kara Lunden were dominating that season,” said Gately.
The 5-foot-6-inch Jackson was the NEC and Daily Item Player of the Year and led the conference in points (16.5 points per game), assists, and steals. She was considered one of the best athletes on the North Shore and went on to play basketball at Division 1 Drexel University in Philadelphia and later at Salem State.
“Deidre was a phenomenal player,” said Gately. “She lifted the whole team to another level. She was an unselfish player. It was about the team.”
Lunden, a 6-foot-2-inch center, averaged 13.5 points, 15 rebounds, and six blocked shots per game. She was a force inside the lane for the Bulldogs.
Behn, the lone senior, was also an Item All-Star. The 5-foot-4-inch guard averaged eight points per game and was noted for her three-point shooting accuracy. Behn also sang the National Anthem before some games. Her mother, Ginny Behn, was very instrumental in the parent boosters club.
“You could feel it in the preseason that we were going to be a very good,” said Gately. “This group of girls was so cohesive and worked so well together. They had one goal in mind and that was to become NEC champions. It was an exciting season. It was wonderful.”
Gately said she learned a lot from Bryan King during her time in the English program.
“Bryan was a great guy and I learned a lot about basketball strategy from him.”
Gately said she tried to motivate the players each day and teach them self-integrity and to work hard. “All the players worked as a team.”
Gately recalled that then-football coach and current director of athletics Gary Molea was very supportive of the 1993-94 team.
Gately has remained active in the local sports community. She was on the board of directors for the Lynn adult softball league and was president of the Lynn Jets hockey parents organization. Her son, Michael, was a standout goalie in the program and now attends Lesley University.
She retired from her teaching career in June but decided to run for a seat on the Lynn School Committee.
“I wasn’t ready to leave Lynn public schools when I retired,” said Gately. “I wanted to become a different voice for our schools. I want to bring more funding into the classrooms and have better schools.”
A former lead science teacher, Gately advocated for the position of director of the science curriculum for the entire school system.
“I want to make sure we have a great science curriculum in our schools,” said Gately. “I want to make a difference in the Lynn public schools. I want to be a voice. Parents trusted me with their children for all those years. I ask them to trust me on the School Committee with their vote.”
Having been a part of the Bulldogs’ undefeated season, she understands the importance of having strong sports programs for student-athletes.
“I think our athletic directors do a great job with our sports programs,” said Gately.