WLC inducts first three honorees into Athletic Hall of Fame

  • Jim McGettigan thanks the crowd in a short acceptance speech. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Hall of Fame committee member Bill Draper, left, presents a Hall of Fame plaque to Jim McGettigan. Staff photos by Ashley Saari—

  • Dennis Claire thanks his family for the support they have given him in allowing him to be involved as a coach at WLC for so many years.

  • Bill Draper shakes the hand of Dennis Claire, the first person to be inducted into Wilton-Lyndeborough’s Hall of Fame. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/21/2023 12:28:07 PM

The Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative High School established a Hall of Fame on Tuesday night, with three initial inductees, recognized not only for their accomplishments as students, but for their years of dedication to youth sports as coaches and umpires.

The first three inductees are Dennis Claire, Jim McGettigan and ZoPellerin, who was honored posthumously. The awards were presented by Hall of Fame committee member Bill Draper.

“This is our first induction into the WLC Hall of Fame. Our criteria, you may have been an athlete, a coach, a contributor or as a team, and most of these people that are being inducted tonight are in more than one category – they’ve been involved in sports in town a long time, probably a combined 150 years,” Draper said.

Claire, a member of WLC class of 1963, was a three-sport athlete during his school days, playing basketball, baseball and soccer. He was the starting goalie on the soccer team when the team won its first championship in 1962.

Claire was also recognized for his years of dedication to supporting WLC sports as an adult, including co-founding the Wilton Junior Athletic Association, which raises funds for youth in Wilton and Lyndeborough, and his coaching career, which stretched back to the 1970s.

Claire, who coached Junior High boys’ basketball and boys’ JV soccer, came out of retirement in 2001 to coach the WLC Varsity girls’ basketball team, and coached softball for 32 years, retiring in 2009.

Claire said he was honored to be named as one of the first inductees to the WLC Hall of Fame, and praised the work that had been done to establish the Hall of Fame wall.

“I’d like to thank my family. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to do all the coaching that I did,” Claire said. “I wouldn’t change anything. I enjoyed all my years here. It was the best time of my life. As far as getting this award, it’s really wonderful.”

Jim McGettigan has varsity letters in cross country, basketball and baseball from his playing days in the 1950s, and had a 62-year career as an umpire for baseball and softball and a referee for basketball, from 1953 until his retirement in 2015.

As a student, McGettigan was part of the basketball team that beat Milford High School for the first time in a decade, and has been a member of the Wilton Shamrocks, the Milford Orioles and Nashua Dodgers baseball teams.

ZoPellerin was involved with Wilton athletics his whole life, both as a varsity player of basketball and baseball in the 1950s, as one of the founders of the Wilton-Lyndeborough Junior Athletic Association and as a coach for over 20 years.

In both his junior and senior years, Pellerin’s team took home the George Quimby Memorial Trophy for winning the Division C basketball tournament. He was named as forward for the all-tournament team. As a junior, he scored a total 292 points for the season.

Pellerin coached JV boys’ soccer, and the Junior High’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, and assistant coach for varsity girls’ softball. His award was accepted by his daughter, Patty Anderson.

“It’s just an honor to accept this award for my family and for my father,” Anderson said. “He was always involved in sports for many years, and he would have been very honored to receive this award. I’d like to thank the committee for accepting his application and making him one of the first inductees, it’s a great honor.”

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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