Paula McGinn was the last of four Endicott College athletes to be inducted at the school’s Hall of Fame induction
ceremony on Sept. 23 in the MacDonald Gymnasium.
Director of Athletics Brian Wylie told the large crowd of students, alumni, and parents in attendance, “We’ve saved the best for last.”
McGinn, a 2008 graduate, earned induction for her accomplishments in women’s soccer and softball. She helped her Lady Gulls teams win eight Commonwealth Coast Conference championships and set several school records during a career that Wylie called “phenomenal and historic.”
Considered one of Lynn Classical’s greatest female athletes, McGinn now adds the distinction of being one of the few Endicott athletes to be recognized as a Hall of Famer in two sports.
“Paula proved to be such a dangerous player in both sports due to her speed and athleticism, but more than that, her tenacity and determination and how she approached competition was one of her greatest strengths,” said Wylie. “Her unrelenting will and grit led to her return to play after a devastating knee late in the soccer season – she was ready to dominate in softball a short six months later.
With her proud parents, Jay McGinn and Beverly McGinn, and equally proud sister, Angela Rehal, sitting in the audience, Paula delivered a heartfelt acceptance speech.
“I would like to start by congratulating my fellow inductees along with thanking the entire selection committee for deeming my play on the field worthy of this prestigious award,” said McGinn. “This is such an incredible honor and privilege and something I will cherish forever. I really dreamt of this moment since I was a freshman. I wasn’t sure it was going to be attainable, but I knew I was going to give it my all.”
She credited her family, friends, teammates, and coaches for their support.
“I wouldn’t be standing here today without the endless support and dedication from my family, my friends, and my coaches,” said McGinn.
She said her parents never missed a game in her career. “My parents not only came to every home game, but they never missed an away game. They traveled many miles to be there and there are not enough “thank-yous” in the world to say how much that meant to me.”
McGinn said her years at Endicott have set the foundation to her life after college and in her career.
“My years at Endicott helped shape me in to the person I am today,” she said.
McGinn told the students in attendance the inspiring story about her comeback from a torn ACL injury to her knee that she sustained in an October, 2006 game versus Curry College.
“Always remember that not all moments are going to be what you imagined or perfect, but it’s how you handle it and rise above,” she said. “I was having one of my best games and in a blink of my eye, my season was over. I remember the stadium going quiet, [softball] coach Veilleiux watching from the concession stand and my parents watching from the bleachers.
“After an MRI confirmed that I would need surgery, I started to have these crazy thoughts: Will I able to play softball this season? Is my career over? Will I be the same player?”
McGinn said thanks to Endicott having “some of the best athletic trainers who were passionate and dedicated to each athlete, and with their support and rehabilitation program, I was on that softball diamond the following April. No, I wasn’t the same player I was before, but I adapted and I truly believe I was a better player and a stronger person.”
McGinn offered advice to all of the Endicott athletes in the gymnasium. “These were the best four years of my life. And the schedule may have been strenuous balancing two sports, academics, social – but I wouldn’t have changed a moment. My words of advice are: be sure to enjoy each day because they go by fast. Remember to live in the moment and take it one day at a time, because it’s going to be over in the blink of an eye.”
The largest ovation of the morning followed McGinn back to her seat.