League Change: Classical’s Sawyer, English’s Carroll Support the Move to Greater Boston League in 2021

Two long-time coaches have voiced their support for the Lynn schools’ move from the Northeastern Conference to the Greater Boston League.

Tom Sawyer, head coach of the Lynn Classical girls basketball team, and Chris Carroll, head coach of the Lynn English football team, agree with the decision by their Athletic Directors Bill Devin and Dick Newton and School Principals Tessie Mower and Amy Dunn, respectively, to apply for membership in the GBL.

Dr. Patrick Tutwiler, superintendent of Lynn schools and a former Division 1 college basketball player at the College of the Holy Cross, has also received praise for allowing his administrators to pursue a move that the athletic directors and coaches at the two schools consider to be in the best interests of their student-athletes from a competitive standpoint.

Pending a vote by NEC officials to formally release the two schools from the conference, Lynn Classical and Lynn English would begin competition in the eight-team GBL in September, 2021. The other teams in the GBL are: Revere, Everett, Medford, Malden, Somerville, and Chelsea.

Following are summations and remarks from the two highly respected Lynn coaches:

Tom Sawyer Lynn Classical

Lynn Classical girls basketball coach Tom Sawyer has built one of the best programs on the North Shore. His teams qualify for the State Tournament and his graduating players continue their careers in college.

Players laud the entire Classical experience – including the in-season trips to college basketball games, Alumni Night, the Teacher/Community Appreciation Night, helping out at the Lynn youth basketball instructional clinics – and the full support the program receives from AD Bill Devin and other school administrators. Not to mention the presence of Classical basketball legendry on the bench in assistant coach Helen Ridley, who still holds the city’s all-time single-game scoring record.

City of Lynn Community stalwart Rob Smith, the Rams’ JV coach and king of the Classical Powder Puff team, is another asset to the program. Freshman coach Shardaye Berry is one of several alumnae who have stayed in the game of basketball because their playing experience under Tom Sawyer was so positive and impactful in their lives.

Classical’s Lee Ann Baldini is the dean of official scorekeepers while former Classical AD Dick Ruth presides at the scorer’s table as the official timekeeper.

What Sawyer has accomplished over the past two decades is all the more remarkable when you consider there are five girls basketball programs (Classical, English, Tech, KIPP, and St. Mary’s) in the city.

Sawyer has enjoyed competing against Northeastern Conference schools (he was previously an assistant on Gene Constantino’s staff), but he now believes the move to the Greater Boston League is the right one at this time.

Addressing the move to the GBL, Sawyer commented, “I trust that Lynn Classical leadership and decision makers have and will make decisions after careful review and with the best interests of Lynn Classical student athletes in mind. Wherever that decision takes us, it takes us.”

Chris Carroll Lynn English

Chris Carroll is one of the most outstanding athletes in the history of Lynn English. He was a two-year, two-sport captain in football and baseball. As a quarterback and defensive back, he was the 2005 Lynn Item and WESX-Radio Player of the Year in football.

He was also a 2005 Boston Globe All-Scholastic in football. As a freshman, Carroll was a starting player in three varsity sports, football, hockey, and baseball.

His development as one of the best players on the North Shore under head coach Gary Molea set the foundation for his entrance into the Bentley College (now Bentley University) football program. As a four-year Falcon, he led the Northeast-10 Conference in interceptions in 2008 and 2009 and was third nationally in INTs in 2009 with eight in 10 games. He was a two-time NE-10 All-Conference selection and selected to the New England Football Writers’ Division 2-3 All-Star team.

Carroll received his degree in 2010 in Corporate Finance and Accounting.

He returned to the English football program in 2015 as its head coach and the Bulldogs’ program has been a title contender and playoff qualifier under his leadership.

Chris is the son of Steve Carroll, a 1976 graduate of Lynn English, and Anne Carroll. His sister Tracie (English) and brother Steve (St. Mary’s) also excelled in sports.

Speaking about the decision to leave the NEC and move to the Greater Boston, Carroll said,  

“I think the move to the GBL will be good for Lynn English.  The GBL schools have a similar enrollment as Lynn English and I think it will create more competition across all sports.  I have always enjoyed the NEC rivalries, but things change, and I look forward to creating new rivalries in the GBL.”

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