By Joyce Erekson
When the English High athletic director Dick Newton and assistant principal and former AD Gary Molea talk about Mike Carr, it’s not wins and losses, titles or milestones that dominate the discussion.
Both Newton and Molea say the thing the will remember most about the English High boys basketball coach, who died Friday after a lengthy illness, was his devotion to his children, Michael and Rachael, and his wife, Gemma.
“The most important things to him were his kids, his wife and Lynn English,” Newton said. “We’ve seen his kids grow up here. We’ve seen his kids (now both students at Peabody High) since they were in elementary school.”
Molea said everyone talks about Carr as a coach, but his most important role was that of a father and husband.
“He was a great father,” Molea said. “He never put those kids on the back burner. They always came first. He always made sure they were involved. He never took time away from them. They (his children and his wife) were his greatest loves.”
Carr, 52, came down with a serious virus nearly a year ago. He underwent multiple surgeries but during the ordeal, doctors discovered he also had cancer. He recovered well enough to attend a fundraiser held for him and his family during the summer and when basketball season rolled around, he wanted to return to coaching.
Newton said he’s glad Carr was able to come back and do what he loved.
“I think it was a good thing for Mike,” Newton said. “It kind of gives you a reason to go forward. He said he really wanted to do it and that he really liked these kids. He put his heart and soul into it (coaching).”
Molea, who coached English High football for many years, coached Carr as a junior varsity player at English around 1980-1981. When Buzzy Barton needed another assistant coach back in 2008, Carr was at the top of the list.
“Buzzy and I heard a lot of good things about Mike when Buzzy got the job … We went to Mike. We knew he was an English guy and we knew he was doing a great job in Stoneham. He was an English guy. Home grown. We knew he had to try and get him back. He and Buzzy were a tremendous team together and when Buzzy stepped down, I knew I had my head coach.”
Newton said Carr took a lot of pride in his job. In 2013, with Carr at the helm, the Bulldogs reached the Division 1 North final.
“It’s sad. He’ll be missed,” Newton said. “He always represented English in a professional manner. He always put the school and the kids first. We were always happy with Mike as the basketball coach.”