Holyoke High Pursues Second Valley Title

by Laurel | December 7th, 2011

The image below is of Coach John “Dotty” Whalen’s winning team from Holyoke High School’s previous (1923-1924) season. Players and coaches are not individually identified in the yearbook image, a book from my personal collection and source of the image. “Dotty” Whalen was originally from West Springfield and a graduate of Wilbraham and Williston Academies as well as Springfield College; and held a reputation for turning out some of the finest teams at Holyoke High School during his fourteen year tenure there as coach in the 1920’s – 1930’s. Definitely basketball fever in Holyoke at this time, a huge amount of space was devoted to Dotty Whalen and his Holyoke team in the Republican. Anyone remember this legendary coach or star players?

Holyoke High School's Winning Basketball Team, 1923-24 Season

Holyoke High School's Winning Basketball Team, 1923-24 Season

07 December 1924

Prospects Are Bight For Another Championship Basketball Quintet at the Paper City Institution This Season

By Frank Wakefield

Holyoke High’s brilliant three-sport coach, John “Dotty” Whalen, makes no “bones” about the fact that he is out after his second Valley League basketball title this year. “Dotty” has turned out championship football and baseball combinations during his sojourn at the Paper City institution but strangely enough has annexed only one basketball pennant. This came last season, when Westfield and Holyoke dashed neck-and-neck down the stretch, and the Whalenmen finally captured the crown after an extra play-off game, which was tacked onto the regular league schedule.

Six Veterans Back

With six well-seasoned veterans back again this year Whalen expects and is even confident of winning more net laurels and without the necessity for extra deciding games. Included in the large squad now trying out for the Purple team are: Capt. Eddie Williamson, Marchinik, Carroll, Ouellette, Choiniere and Dan Fogarty. All of these players are the letter men from the crack 1923 – 1924 team and will doubtless compose the first string group this winter.

Eddie Williamson and Dan Fogarty both met with a mishap near the end of the past football season. Williamson fractured his hand in the Tech High game wile Fogarty was stricken with appendicitis immediately afterward. Each is expected to he around in shape by the first of the year but it is doubtful if either participates in any of the December games.

Just two players will be lost from last year’s championship aggregation. Willie Walkov, flashy forward and The Republican’s choice for the All-Valley team, was graduated last June along with Allison, lanky center. Walkov is now playing with the Springfield Y.M.C.A. and Hartford Lyric teams while Allison is drilling daily with Coach Boyden’s Deerfield Academy quintet.

Clockwise, from upper left: Carroll (guard), Ouelette (guard), Marchinik (Center), Choinere (Forward) and Williamson (Forward).

Clockwise, from upper left: Carroll (Guard), Ouelette (guard), Marchinik (center), Choinere (forward) and Williamson (forward).

All-Valley Players

Two of the players back again for another season were selected on The Republican’s 1923-24 All-Valley Basketball team. Ed Williamson, thirf leading scorer in the league last year, was picked for a forward berth. E possessed on of the keenest scoring eyes in the valley and was a wuzard at working the sphere down the floor to the hoop. With Walkov gone, the scoring brunt will probably fall upon Williamson’s shoulder this season.

The other Holyoke netster on the mythical five was Pete Ouelette, premier guard and a veritable whirlwind in the backcourt. It will be remembered in the play-off game between Holyoke and Westfield at Springfield College last year that Pete held the heralded Pat Egan to one field goal and also outscored the Whip City ace.

The other veterans from last year, Ray Marchinik and Bob Carroll, are sure to surpass their last year’s form on the court. Marchinik will capably fill the pivotal position and many Holyoke rooters are of the opinion that Ray will be even better than was Allison. In the game at Westfield last season Allison went all to pieces in the second period and it was Marchinik who coolly stepped into the breach and made a credible showing despite Westfield’s ultimate triumph.

Carroll was the captain of last year’s team and ranks among the best backs in the state. He plays a running guard game, but also deftly manages his opponent on the defense. With Carroll and Ouelette to call upon Coach Whale’s backcourt problem seems about settled.

Plenty of Reserves

There is plenty of reserve material from which to pick, for Holyoke has one of the busiest basketball squads in New England. It numbers nearly 75 and while it is a trifle unwieldy in a schoolboy squad, will probably be pruned to 50 within the next few days. Some of the newer hoopsters shaping up well in the workouts are Georgie Dean, Stewie Williamson, Pete Soutiere, McDowell and Cycowski. In Coach Whalen’s opinion, any one of these boys are likely to relegate some of the so called regulars to the senior team.

Yes, the purple mentor has a sweet squad this year from which to choose a winning combination, but it is a well-known fact that Whalen could band together a presentable team with even less than mediocre material. As a former three-letter man at Springfield College, Whalen is thoroughly acquainted with every angle in basketball, baseball, and football and it would be the toughest of tasks to find a more capable coach in Massachusetts.

“Dotty” played first base on the Springfield College baseball nine and is sill considered one of the best initial sack performers in semi-pro circles. He was a guard on the basketball team and a halfback and end on the football eleven and now in each high school sport, Whalen dons a uniform with the rest of his candidates and even takes part in the practice sessions and scrimmages. In this way “Dotty” gets a better line on his players and also manages to keep in excellent physical condition.

The Holyoke basketball manager also has been unusually active this season and has fitted together a schedule calling for 21 games. Five of these contests are still in the formative stage, but the games definitely scheduled follow: December 12, Athol; 19 Commerce at Springfield; 26, Bethlehem prep; 31, Arlington; January 8, Northampton at Northampton; 9, West Springfield; 16 Chicopee; 23 Westfield at Westfield; 28, Commerce; 29 Greenfield at Greenfield; February 6, Northampton; 13, West Springfield at West Springfield; 13 Crosby at Waterbury; 20, Chicopee at Chicopee; March 5, Westfield; 13, Greenfield. What student=manager in the valley has tossed together a meaner schedule than this?

From The Springfield Republican.

Note: the writer — Frank Wakefield — had a colorful style. You can read more about his career at this link.

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