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Waltham’s Bandini wins award for lifetime service

Waltham resident Skip Bandini, a longtime coach and MasterSports founder, will receive an award in Ron Burton’s name. Waltham resident Skip Bandini, a longtime coach and MasterSports founder, will receive an award in Ron Burton’s name.
By Marvin Pave
Globe Correspondent / December 25, 2011
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Curry College football coach Skip Bandini of Waltham will receive the 2012 Ron Burton Distinguished American Award from the Jack Grinold/Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation.

The award - named in memory of the former Patriots running back who cofounded the Pop Warner program in Framingham - is presented to a former player who has carried the lessons learned on the field to a lifetime of service to the community.

Last spring’s recipient was Belmont native Don Ruggeri, who coached Bandini at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Bandini later served on Ruggeri’s staff at Buzzards Bay for two seasons. Both are members of the academy’s hall of fame.

The presentation will be made May 14 during the chapter’s scholar-athlete banquet at Lantana’s in Randolph. The chapter is named in honor of Grinold, Northeastern University’s longtime sports information director who is also originally from Belmont.

“I’m extremely humbled and so proud that my college coach received the same award last year, and that it is named for Ron Burton, who did so much for his sport and his community,’’ said Bandini, a former team captain and lineman at Mass. Maritime. His college coaching resume includes stints as offensive coordinator at MIT, defensive coordinator at Mount Ida College, and a line coach at University of Massachusetts Lowell.

The selection was made in August, but was not announced until the organization’s board of directors meeting earlier this month.

“I asked Skip to come and talk about MasterSports, the organization he has founded that distributes scholarship money to deserving high school players to help with college expenses,’’ said Roger Crosley, the chapter’s president and executive director.

“After Skip made his presentation, we surprised him with the honor.’’

An inductee to the Bridgton Academy Hall of Fame, Bandini was an assistant coach at Curry before succeeding former Patriots linebacker Steve Nelson as head coach in 2006. Bandini and his Curry staff recently coached the victorious North squad at the Division 3 North-South Senior Classic in Salem, Va.

His coaching stint at Mass. Maritime was literally a case of Ruggeri waiting for his ship to come in.

Because one of Ruggeri’s assistant coaches was aboard the academy’s training vessel, which was delayed getting back to port, Ruggeri asked Bandini to fill in.

“Skip was a hard-nosed guard for me and an outstanding individual and coach,’’ said Ruggeri. “There was no one better as a lead run blocker.’’

In 1999, Mass. Maritime retired Bandini’s number 62 jersey, and in 2005 he was honored by the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association with its Distinguished Service Award. Bandini, a graduate of Don Bosco Tech in Boston, is also director of facilities for the Waltham public schools.

Waldron tapped for hall of fame

Newton resident Jon Waldron, head track and cross-country coach at Concord Academy, was inducted earlier this month into the Cambridge Sports Union Hall of Fame.

An all-state cross-country runner at Amherst Regional High School, Waldron was the US indoor mile champ in 2003 in the masters age group, and held the American male age-45 group record for the outdoor 3,000 meters (9:04.05) from 2003 to 2005.

“I was quite surprised and honored to be selected,’’ said Waldron, a research project manager for Nuance Communications in Burlington and a graduate of Reed College in Oregon.

“All of the other recipients have been with the club longer and I still feel like a bit of a newcomer - after 27 years,’’ he said.

Staley named rookie of week

Stonehill College freshman Nicholas Staley of Medway has twice been selected Northeast-10 Conference Rookie of the Week in field events.

He made an impressive college debut at the Jay Carisella Invitational, hosted by Northeastern University, when he provisionally qualified for the NCAA Division 2 indoor track & field championships in the high jump by clearing 6 feet 9.75 inches.

A state high jump champion and Catholic Conference MVP at Boston College High, Staley followed that performance with a first-place jump of 6 feet 8 inches at Brandeis University’s Reggie Poyau Invitational.

“Nick has the ability to break down instruction and apply it to his event,’’ said head coach Karen Boen. “His high school and now college teammate, Corey Thomas, is a great workout partner, and I am sure the two of them will push one another to great heights.’’

Thomas, a Brookline native and the NCAA Division 2 indoor high-jump champ, has taken some time off to train and will be ready to go full tilt after Stonehill’s holiday break, Boen said.

Here and there

The Waltham Track Club girls’ cross-country team, for ages 13-14, won the recent USA Track & Field Junior Olympic championships held in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The team, coached by Joe Tranchita and Gunther Kern, is composed of Leah Brams of Belmont; Rebecca Grusby, Sonya Jampel and Zoe Gompers of Newton; Lauren Ilsley of Lexington; Courtney Aylaian of Stow; Charlotte Sykes of Lincoln; and Lindsay Mogan of Waltham . . . Brandeis University senior Kate Warwick of Boxborough was selected as University Athletic Association Women’s indoor track & field Athlete of the Week after winning the 3,000-meter event at the Reggie Poyau Invitational with a personal best time of 10:12.23 . . . Sudbury’s Scott Prozeller, a men’s soccer captain at Harvard this fall, will fill the same role next season. A first-team All-Ivy League pick, the midfielder played in all 17 games and scored two goals for the Crimson.

Marvin Pave can be reached at

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