From Duxbury to Harvard, basketball taught Pat Magnarelli perseverance and perspective

Former Duxbury High and Harvard University basketball player Pat Magnarelli.
Former Duxbury High and Harvard University basketball player Pat Magnarelli.

Early in the 2007-08 season, the Harvard University basketball team absorbed an 82-50 beating at the University of Michigan.

The following season, Pat Magnarelli made sure it wouldn’t happen again when Michigan visited Lavietes Pavilion. The 6-foot-7 sophomore forward played 37 minutes, scored 11 points, and pulled down seven rebounds in the Crimson’s 61-52 win.

“It was a revenge game for us,’’ recalled Magnarelli, who had sparked Duxbury High to the MIAA Division 2 championship his senior season. “It was special because our head coach, Tommy Amaker, had coached Michigan the year before.’’

Magnarelli’s promising college career was cut short by injuries. He averaged 10.8 points and 6.3 rebounds that sophomore season, but dislocated his knee and missed his junior season. Despite an ankle injury, Magnarelli toughed it out his senior year and sparked a triple-overtime win against William & Mary.


He was presented Harvard’s John P. Fadden Award for overcoming physical adversity while making a contribution to his team.

“The ups and downs,’’ he said, “taught me perseverance and gave me perspective.’’

Magnarelli was coached in youth sports by his father, John, a former North Quincy High football and baseball captain and longtime football referee.

In addition to racking up 1,436 points, 1,012 rebounds, and 258 blocks as a four-year basketball starter for coach Gordon Cushing, he played trombone in Duxbury High’s wind ensemble.

The 31-year-old Magnarelli is now a director of business development for Boingo Wireless, which installs Wi-Fi and cellular data systems in large public venues. He resides in Chicago with his wife, Brogan Berry, formerly a star point guard on the Harvard women’s basketball team who works for a private equity firm.

“I still play basketball in a men’s league, and Brogan and I started playing co-ed volleyball together,’’ said Magnarelli. “Playing on a team has definitely helped me identify how to best reach a common goal.’’


Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.