Boys basketball: With Pioneer’s Scott Thayer the newest 300-win member, digging deeper into all-time Franklin County coaching list

Frontier head coach Marty Sanderson talks with his team during a timeout in the second half against Putnam on Jan. 30, 2018 at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

Frontier head coach Marty Sanderson talks with his team during a timeout in the second half against Putnam on Jan. 30, 2018 at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/Dan Little

By JEFF LAJOIE

Staff Writer

Published: 01-08-2024 5:41 PM

Modified: 01-08-2024 5:41 PM


When Pioneer’s Scott Thayer reached the 300-win mark last week in the Panthers’ victory over Mount Greylock, he joined elite company among Recorder area boys basketball coaches.

Thayer became just the fifth boys basketball coach in the area to topple the 300-win mark, and he now sits with an all-time coaching record of 300-218.

The benchmark for all basketball coaching victories in Franklin County is, of course, former Frontier girls head coach Vi Goodnow. The gymnasium in South Deerfield is named after the legendary coach, who racked up a whopping 633 basketball victories from 1958 until 2002. That number stood as the Massachusetts record for most career wins until 2016 when Oliver Ames’ Elaine Clement-Holbrook surpassed Goodnow’s lofty total.

Leading the way all time for boys basketball wins in the area is former Frontier head coach Marty Sanderson. The 1979 Frontier graduate retired from coaching the boys program at his alma mater in 2010, the last of three boys basketball stops in a career that began at Hopkins Academy (1985-87) before stops at Hampshire Regional (1989-99) and Frontier (2000-10). Sanderson won 190 games at Frontier, and amassed 353 total wins between the three schools (353-196). He won a Western Mass. title at Hampshire in 1996, and also won championships at Frontier in 2002 and 2008.

Sanderson returned for a two-year stint coaching the girls basketball team at Frontier in 2016, posting a 23-19 mark during that tenure.

Turners Falls’ Gary Mullins is No. 2 on the boys basketball coaching list, checking in with a record of 336-471. Mullins has been in charge of the Powertown’s program since 1987, and earned his 300th career win in 2017.

Athol’s Chris Sullivan is next on the boys hoop list at No. 3, amassing a record of 319-215 during a career that went from 1978-2003. He later returned, like Sanderson, to coach the girls team at Athol from 2006-09, going 48-14 in those three years and winning the Franklin North title in 2007.

Greenfield’s Dan Dyer is No. 4 on the coaching list, racking up a record of 304-321 during a stint that lasted from 1947-78.

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Thayer is next, just four wins behind, followed at No. 6 by Frontier’s Jack Zabek (1973-94), who went 274-195 with the boys basketball program. Zabek coached the 1987 boys basketball team to a perfect 25-0 record and a state championship, and later returned to coach the girls basketball team where he led the school to a Western Mass. title in 2000.

Greenfield’s Bill Beauregard, who succeeded Dyer, won 217 games from 1979-1995 and sits No. 7 on the list, while Mahar’s Chad Softic is next at No. 8. The current Senators head coach is 211-148 since taking over the program in 2007, including a Division 2 state championship in 2012. Softic reached the 200-win milestone in a win over rival Athol last season.

Rounding out the top 10 Recorder area boys basketball coaching wins list are Pioneer’s Perry Messer (187 wins from 1991-2001) and Turners Falls’ Earl Lorden (177 wins from 1924-41). Dave Hastings (164 wins at Pioneer), Paul Cournoyer (148 wins at Turners Falls), John Hickey (135 wins at Mohawk Trail) and Ben Barshefsky (132 wins at Frontier) are also above the 100-win threshold on the boys basketball side.

Thanks to local historian Mike Cadran for supplying the numbers, and for his continued help and support of the Recorder sports department.