Newton recognized Antonio Anderson’s potential to be a state champion coach
Who knew that Antonio Anderson, one of the greatest basketball players to ever come out of Lynn, would experience so much success, so fast as a high school basketball coach?
We knew his basketball future as a player, following a superb career under Tech coach Marvin Avery, was going to be grand. We were in the Anderson home when John Calipari came to Lynn to personally recruit Antonio to attend the University of Memphis.
Every pledge Calipari made to the Anderson family on that night, he delivered. Antonio would play in a highly competitive program, it would be fun, exciting and interesting, he would work hard on his basketball and in the classroom and receive his degree, and he’d be prepared to play at the next level or pursue a position in his area of study after his basketball career was over.
Antonio made it to the NBA and we surmise that Kevin Durant’s toughest defender that year was 6-foot-6-inch Antonio Anderson during Oklahoma City Thunder practices.
Coming Home To Lynn
Anderson made some coaching stops in college (Franklin Pierce, Wheelock, and Salem State) before he was appointed the head coach at Lynn English.
Again, who knew that Antonio Anderson would be the perfect fit for the Lynn English boys basketball program?
Lynn Director of Athletics Dick Newton knew. There were outstanding candidates and Newton chose to hand the keys of Bulldogs Basketball to Anderson. He hoped English would become a top-tier Division 1 program that would excel beyond the Northeastern Conference as it did when former coach Buzzy Barton took the Bulldogs to the state final in 2009.
Newton, a former athletic great himself in Lynn, provided excellent support and all the resources the program needed. Most importantly, he was there front and center for his coaches and the players at every step on this amazing journey. He was courtside with Principal Thomas Strangie at the Garden when the Bulldogs beat Newton North and at WPI when Anderson and his team defeated Putman and accomplished something that hadn’t been done in 80 years: a Division 1 state basketball championship.
In fact, the entire English administration was in Worcester for the biggest game in school history. In addition to Strangie and Newton, Vice Principals Gary Molea, Jennifer Mancaniello and Heather Fabiano made the long trek on the last Saturday of the winter to be in the stands at Holy Cross.
Also at courtside: Supt. of Schools Dr. Patrick Tutwiler and his family. It was a return home for Tutwiler, who starred in basketball for the Division 1 Holy Cross Crusaders.
The Rise to Being No. 1
For Dick Newton, the state championship was the culmination of everything he had hoped for when he named Anderson as coach and Anderson brought an excellent staff of assistants on board for this season in Alvin Abreu, Corey Bingham, Ryan Woumn, Dina Wavezwa, and Chris Cole (freshman)
Newton felt he had the right man for the job following his interview with Anderson. That interview was the first time he had ever met Anderson.
“When he came in to present himself and told us what he wanted to do with the program, we were overly impressed,” recalled Newton.
And Newton liked what he saw of Anderson at the helm of the basketball program.
“He’s a professional,” related Newton. “He handles himself in a professional manner. He teaches the game of basketball. He handles adults and carries himself in the way that Mr. Strangie and I wanted a coach at Lynn English to carry himself. Because in basketball, the coach is on display the entire game.”
Newton said winning a state championship takes a lot of components coming together.
“To win a state title, even if you have a really good team, there are a lot of variables,” said Newton. “Of course, there’s some luck involved, but most of it’s hard work and putting the kids in the right frame of mind and playing as a team. And these kids came together and didn’t care who scored the points.
“Antonio instilled that in them, that unselfishness to play hard and advance as one toward the object of it all: to win a state title.
And Antonio Anderson and the 2018-19 Bulldogs are the state champions, the undisputed No. 1-ranked school in all of Massachusetts.