Boys & Girls Club honors local coaches at 'Night of Legends'

Boys & Girls Club honors local coaches at 'Night of Legends'

CUMBERLAND - After a successful first year, the Boys & Girls Club of Cumberland-Lincoln will again host "A Night of Legends" this month, honoring influential coaches and raising money for the annual holiday basketball tournament.

The event takes place Friday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. in the Cumberland Public Safety Union Hall, or "The Dugout," at 7 Cray St., and honors three longtime basketball coaches, and one wrestling coach who has been leading teams for almost half a century.

They are: George Aragao, who coached varsity basketball at Lincoln High School from 1980 to 1994; Joseph Hughes, a former multi-sport coach for teams from Central Falls High School, Bishop Feehan High School, Mount St. Charles Academy and Cumberland High School; Steve Gordon, who started the CHS wrestling program in 1968 and still remains the head coach 45 years later; and John McVeigh, the head coach of CHS basketball from 1986 to 1997.

All four honorees are Cumberland residents.

"These were the folks that we had played for," said Jim Carney, one of the organizers of the event, adding it was easy coming up with these four "legendary coaches."

With nearly 120 coaching years and 14 hall of fame inductions among them, the coaches live up to the title.

"The club couldn't be more proud that these guys are coming. It's a warm feeling for the club and myself," said Craig Bloomer, the club's executive director. "In Cumberland and Lincoln, they're just known. And Steve's time is never going to come to an end."

Gordon, however, said his true claim to fame is beating McVeigh at a game of horse, the details of which were disputed immediately as the men sat around a table in the club reminiscing about the days when kids would be in the gym six days a week until the lights shut off, and try to get in on Sundays.

"John and I used to play horse every single day and I lost consistently," Gordon admitted with a laugh.

McVeigh, a charter member of the club founded in 1956, said it is an honor to be picked "by this group especially." He has coached 90 percent of the club alumni organizing the event, he said.

Tickets to "A Night of Legends" cost $25 at the door, and includes a buffet dinner.

Proceeds will go toward covering the $3,000 cost of the club's annual holiday basketball tournament. Bloomer said the club wants to see the tournament get back up to eight high school teams from across Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Since its inception 40 years ago, it has dropped down to four.

"Because of their basketball backgrounds, they want to contribute to and run this holiday tournament," Bloomer said. "It's great to have new ideas and new folks."

The rest of the money raised by the event, Carney said, will go back to the club.

"The Boys Club is an extremely important part of this community," Gordon said. "It's helped hundreds and hundreds of kids throughout the years."

For more information, contact Jim Carney at jimcarney28@gmail.com , David Walsh at dfwalsh@bassettfurniture.com , Ed McVeigh at edwardmcveigh@yahoo.com or call the club at 401-333-4850.