May 27, 2020

Spotlight on Sports

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Townies Bob Lyons chosen for RI Track & Field Coaches Hall of Fame
Longtime head coach of the East Providence Sr. High School boys track & field team, Bob Lyons, has been chosen for induction to the RI Track & Field Coaches Hall of Fame. Lyons has coached many All-State athletes, several of whom have held or continue to hold Rhode Island state records. Lyons has coached individuals and relays that have won championships at the New England Championships. He also coached Eric Osei, who earned All-American honors during his career as a sprinter at East Providence Sr. High School. Lyons 2013 team won the Rhode Island state team championship, one of only five East Providence teams to accomplish this feat in the school’s history. His teams have also won multiple Eastern Division championships during his tenure.

Lyons teams have finished in the top three, top five, and top ten on a consistent basis during his tenure as the East Providence boys head coach. His teams have also won many team titles at Rhode Island Invitationals. His 2018 team was awarded the team sportsmanship award. During his coaching career Bob has been honored by his peers who selected him as the Rhode Island coach of the year on multiple occasions. He was also voted the Northeast Region coach of the year and one of five finalists for the National Coach of the Year. He continues to mentor young coaches some of whom played for him at East Providence High School and his knowledge of the sport he coaches, continues to earn him the respect of his peers.

Tom Kenwood, chairman of the RITCA Hall of Fame Committee announced Lyon’s selection for 2020 induction. “We have taken a great deal of pride in selecting the finest coaches, officials, athletes, etc. to the Hall of Fame,” Kenwood told Lyons in his selection letter. While competing as a sprinter for East Providence Sr. High School, Lyons earned first team All-State honors in 1980 and 1981, he earned All-New England honors in 1980 and 1981 and was named an honorable mention All-American in both 1980 and 1981. In addition to these honors, he was a member of the East Providence High School 4x100 meter relay teams that broke the Rhode Island state record in successive years. Additionally, Lyons earned multiple All Class A and All Division honors and was the individual champion in the 100 and 200 meter at many invitationals held in Rhode Island and the New England region during his high school career.

“I am very honored and extremely appreciative for this honor and grateful for the all the great student-athletes I’ve had the pleasure to coach (and continue to coach), the wonderful people I’ve worked for (and continue to work for), and the people I’ve worked with through the years,” said Lyons. “There is no place I’d rather be coaching than at East Providence High School, a place that will always be near and dear to my heart.”

Lyons teams have finished in the top three, five and top ten on a consistent basis during his tenure as the Townies boys head coach. His teams have also won many team titles at Rhode Island Invitationals. His 2018 team was awarded the team sportsmanship award. Lyons has been honored by his peers who selected him as the Rhode Island coach of the year on multiple occasions. He was also voted the Northeast Region coach of the year and one of five finalists for the National Coach of the Year.

EPHS Basketball Awards
The East Providence High School boys basketball program continues to receive accolades in a shortened season due to the Covid-19 pandemic gripping the world.  Once the season had been officially declared over, some statewide awards were issued.  The RI Basketball Coaches Association named Townie Head Coach Joe Andrade as a 2020 Division I Basketball Coach of the Year.  All five starters on the team also received honors also.  Andrade also won the award in 2017. R.J. Pina and Brian Taylor were first team All-Division I and second team all-league selections. Justin Pena, Josh Kauffman and Zach Russell were second team all-division.

“I definitely appreciate the award because it's your coaching peers who are voting. Obviously, it has been a good year even though it ended too early,” said Andrade. “This team was easy to coach, no discipline problems in or out of the classroom. It made my job easy and I appreciate that,” he added.

East Providence Director of Athletics, Gregg Amore was also impressed with his basketball coach and players.  “Joe has the respect of his players, his fellow coaches in the league and our school administration,” said Amore.  “He is a very good X’s and O’s coach, but he also communicates well with his guys and that’s why he is a success.  The players showed a lot of perseverance, skill and sportsmanship,” Amore added.

All Spring School Sports Cancelled
Thomas A. Mezzanotte, retiring Executive Director of the RI Interscholastic League has announced the cancellation of all high school sports for this school year.  “In accordance with the announcement by Governor Gina Raimondo that students will continue distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year because of the COVID-19 public health threat, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League regretfully announces that the 2020 Spring Sports Season has been cancelled,” said Mezzanotte.

“In our original statement, we said that we would hold a spring season if we returned to school,” said Principals’ Committee on Athletics Chairman and Cranston High School East principal Sean Kelly.  “Throughout this process, we have followed the guidelines set forth by Governor Gina Raimondo, the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Rhode Island Department of Education and our Superintendents. We are going to continue to do so. We are a school-based athletic program; therefore, if we do not return to school, we cannot return to sports.

“This is obviously devastating for everyone,” Kelly continued. “It is devastating to all the student athletes, especially the seniors who have been waiting for their final high school season. It is devastating to all the schools. It is devastating to all our communities. It is devastating to everyone. We do not take this decision lightly. It’s awful. There’s no other way to put it.”

“My heart breaks for all my athletes in the track & field program and all the dedicated, hardworking athletes throughout the state and the country, particularly the seniors.  I miss coaching my kids and seeing them compete.  East Providence is a very supportive community who continues to support our kids as best as we can during this crisis,” said EPHS track coach Bob Lyons.

EPHS head baseball coach, Bobby Rodericks was looking forward to a productive season with his returning seniors and underclassmen.  “Seniors from the Townies Baseball program got 2020 signs placed in their front lawns recently along with getting new hats thanks to Athletic Director Gregg Amore.  On behalf of our coaching staff we realize nothing can replace the loss of their senior season but we want to make sure they all know that we love and support them now and forever,” said Rodericks.

Prestigious Rumford Golf Tournament Canceled
The Northeast Amateur Invitational golf tournament, held every year at the Wannamoisett Country Club, has been canceled due to the pandemic crisis.  It is the first time in the 56 year history of the tourney that it won’t occur.  Every year the top amateur players from throughout the world come to play in this tournament in Rumford.  “Our priority is to protect the health and safety of the invitees, officials, volunteers, staff and membership of Wannamoisett Country Club,” said tournament chairman and East Providence native, Ben Tuthill.  “We care deeply about amateur golf and hosting one of the top events of the year and make this decision with a heavy heart.  Many different considerations went into this decision and we must act responsibly during this pandemic. 

“We know how disappointing this news is for the players that were invited and planned to participate in the tournament this year. The tournament committee will acknowledge all exemption criteria used for the 2020 field selection and will invite those players to participate in the event next summer.”

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