Alfreda Harris and Charlie Titus, two titans of the Boston basketball coaching community, were honored in a ceremony during the Black Coaches Classic at the University of Massachusetts Boston on Sunday.
With Mayor Martin J. Walsh on hand, Harris and Titus were presented with Certificates of Recognition in thanks for “a lifetime of leadership and friendship, and making [Boston] a better place for all.”
“We would not be here today without you,” said Harold Miller, senior director of policy and district transformation at Boston Public Schools.
The presentation, held in the Clark Athletic Center, holds special significance for both honorees. As the first female coach in UMass Boston history, Harris feels the recognition shows an appreciation for her work.
“It just adds to my pleasure and recognition for what I have a passion for, which is to serve young people,” she said.
A Basketball Hall of Fame member, a long-time coach and a former member of the Boston School Committee, Harris said she feels overwhelming joy when students, players, and friends recognize her and thank her for impacting their lives. For her, it’s always been about much more than basketball.
“It’s not about being a great basketball player,” Harris said. “It’s about being a good, productive citizen.”
Titus, who coached the Beacons nearly every season between 1974 and 2015, said receiving the honor at UMass Boston “is like someone coming to your house and honoring you in your house.”
“It was quite an honor to receive this here, in front of this group of people.”
A product of the Boston public school system, Titus became an example for fellow coaches in the area.
“I don’t know that I ever really set out to be an example,” he said, “but I think I was more in tune with trying to do what I thought was right and what I thought was important — to help young people and help my community.
“If that turned out to be a good example, then that was good.”
Titus plans to retire as vice chancellor for athletics and recreation at UMass-Boston in June this year. With his illustrious career at the school coming to a close, he said he was proud of the success of his former players and students since their graduation.
“When you come back,” he said, “and you see these young men and women have a tremendous impact on the communities here . . . it just doesn’t get any better than that.”
Ethan Fuller can be reached at email@example.com.