Larkee to get coaching honor
Scott Larkee never gave much thought to playing college football on the East Coast. His dream was to stay close to home and attend the University of Wisconsin, or perhaps a smaller Midwest school if Division 1 programs were not interested.
But letters from the Ivy League started to trickle in. And then he made what was a life-changing visit to Harvard.
The hard-hitting linebacker developed into a fixture on defense, starting on the Crimson’s Ivy League championship team as a junior, earning second team All-Ivy League honors as a senior, and finishing his stellar career third all-time in career tackles (243) for the program.
He also met his future wife, Judy Collins , a two-time All-American field hockey at Harvard who had put together a rather storied athletic career at Walpole High.
“Judy was a far greater athlete than I ever was,” said Larkee. “She really had an incredible career.” No player has yet come close to her 42 career goals for the Crimson. The couple, and their four young children (two boys, two girls), reside in Norwood.
His days as a player over, Larkee is building a rather impressive resume on the sideline at his alma mater.
In his fourth season as defensive coordinator, Larkee directed a Crimson unit last fall that paced the Football Championship Subdivision in rushing defense. Next Thursday, the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston will honor Larkee as assistant coach of the year at its annual Bob Whelan College Football Awards night at the Westin hotel in Waltham.
“It’s a great honor,” said Larkee, a 1999 Harvard graduate who has also worked as an assistant at Bowdoin, Bates, Columbia, and Boston College.
Larkee said he went to the dinner last year with Harvard’s head coach, Tim Murphy, “who was honored as coach of the year. It was a great experience, and a lot of my mentors and guys that I’ve worked for have received this award. So it’s very unexpected and a very big honor.”
In addition to leading FCS in rushing defense, the Crimson (8-2) also led the nation with 41 sacks and were in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense. His 2011 unit was spearheaded by Josue Ortiz , the Ivy League’s Defensive Player of the Year.
“Scott was a tough, relentless, hard-nosed and highly committed football player for us, and he brings those same attributes as a coach,” said Murphy, who had Larkee as a freshman recruit in his second season, 1995, at Harvard Stadium. “He brings a great balance of expertise, work ethic, and a great understanding of the Harvard football program to our staff.”
Larkee is building a strong reputation as a coordinator for a team that is perennially in the hunt for the Ivy League title. Running his own program, however, remains a goal.
“I think that should be a goal for every assistant coach, but I’m in a great spot right now working for coach Murphy,” said Larkee.
“The coaching business is such a crazy profession and it’s difficult to have any kind of stability. So it’s great to be here at my alma mater and close to my wife’s family and friends. But things are always changing and at some point I’d definitely like to be a head coach.”
Here and there
Matt Murphy, a 2000 graduate of Brandeis University, has been named to the University Athletic Association’s Silver Anniversary team. The team was chosen to honor players from the first 25 years of the league, which was founded in 1987. Murphy, who played soccer at Duxbury High and resides in Marshfield, was a four-time All-New England selection at Brandeis. He scored 36 goals and had 22 assists for his career. He is sixth on the university’s all-time scoring list with 94 points. “He’s one of the best players to ever play here,” said longtime Brandeis coach Mike Coven. “He had a great career for us.”
Braintree’s Justin Quinn will lead the Fitchburg State hockey team into the Codfish Bowl this weekend at University of Massachusetts Boston. Quinn, a senior forward, has three goals and six assists for the Falcons (4-5-1), including two power play goals and one game-winning tally. He has 23 goals and 46 assists for his career. Fitchburg plays Johnson & Wales in the first round on Saturday, while host UMass Boston plays Wentworth. The championship game will be played Sunday.
Milton’s Connor Green, 16, finished in second place for his age category at the New England Swimming Senior Championship meet at Boston University last month. Green won the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 3:48.87, good for a New England swimming record, and also finished first in the 200-yard fly (1:48.90). Green was second in the 100-yard backstroke (49.75), 200-yard backstroke (1:45.43), 200-yard freestyle (1:39.52), 1,000-yard freestyle (9:11.43), and finished third in the 200-yard individual medley (1:48.47). He was also the lead in the Bluefish team that took second place in the 400-yard medley relay (3:25.78), and a key member of the teams that won the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:24.78.) Marshfield’s Lilly Vivado, 14, finished in fifth place in the female division, winning the 1,650-yard freestyle (16:38.03) and earning third place in the 500-yard freestyle (4:49.35) and 1,000-yard freestyle (9:48.27).
John Johnson can be reached at jjohnson49@ comcast.net.