THE HEALY AFFECT
Edward "Ted" Healy '86
Aristotle reasoned: “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation….We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”
Pat Riley opined: “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.”
By virtue of his undeviating strength of character, determination, refusal to accept less than his best effort, drive to improve, and willingness to lead by example, Ted Healy made excellence a habit in all he did as a student-athlete, citizen and leader at AWHS.
In 1998, AWHS recognized Ted’s excellence with his induction into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in just its second year of existence. Moreover, Ted was one of those rare athletes who merited membership for his performance in two sports – football and track. Thus, it was only fitting that he was one of the school’s first football players, just the second track athlete, and the first track thrower or “weight man” to be so honored.
Football at AWHS
Ted played for Hall of Fame Coach Kevin Macdonald in the midst of what would be the second “golden era” of AWHS Football. A 3-year starter who anchored both offense and defensive lines, Ted played alongside classmates and fellow multiple sports stars Kevin Nichols and Keith Egan. Together they were both an “irresistible force” opening holes for lead back and classmate Mark Landolfi, and harassing opposing quarterbacks, and an “immoveable object,” making it nearly impossible for opposing offenses to have any sustained success.
Over Ted’s career, AWHS football teams went 25-4-2, an 81% winning percentage. Their 1985 team had a perfect 10-0 regular season-the first in 21 years, won the Catholic Central League (“CCL”) championship, and advanced to the school’s first Super Bowl appearance. They dominated opponents by an average score of 28-4.
Ted’s teams helped establish the culture of success that would characterize Coach Macdonald’s teams into the early 1990s. In doing so they drew apt comparisons with the teams from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, the school’s initial “golden age.” Those teams, led by Hall of Fame coaches Jack Garrity (1952-58) and Armond Colombo (1960-68) won 86% of their games and literally put AWHS and its sports “on the map.” The Macdonald teams of the early 1980s to the early 1990s brought AWHS football back to prominence. And it all started with the teams led by Healy, Nichols, Egan, and Landolfi. The epitome of a team player, Ted’s outstanding individual play did not go unnoticed. In fact, he was named to multiple CCL All-Star teams and was a Patriot Ledger, Boston Herald, and Boston Globe All-Scholastic. Of course, Ted’s play also caught the attention of the University of Notre Dame, the most prestigious football program in the country, which offered him a scholarship.
Track and Field at AWHS
If possible, Ted’s exploits in Track and Field at AWHS may have been even more impressive. Hall of Fame Track Coach Art Svensen put it best, “Ted was well-respected and a leader. As a student-athlete, he was a magnet to other students and he made track a popular sport.”
Ted was a “weight man;” his specialty was the shot put. But he was blessed with rare athleticism such that he could succeed in running events as well. A natural leader, and team captain, Ted encouraged his football teammates Kevin Nichols (shot put and discus), Keith Egan (shot put), and Mark Landolfi (javelin) to join him, and together they comprised the best weight men/throwers in school history. What they accomplished in 1985 and 1986 will never be matched. Indeed, they established the “golden age” of AWHS Track and Field. They were so good that Coach Svensen extended his career an additional two years to stay with them!
AWHS Track teams compete in both the Winter/Indoor and Spring/Outdoor seasons. We are a member of the Tri-County League in Winter. In the mid-80s that meant competing head-to-head with the likes of Catholic Memorial, Xaverian, St. John’s Prep, and Brockton. We competed in the CCL in the Spring/Outdoor season.
In the Tri-County Indoor meets Healy, Nichols and Egan all threw the shot, and were so good that in most meets they were only challenged by each other. When Landolfi joined them (after basketball) for the Spring/Outdoor season, he threw the javelin and Nichols added the discus. Individually they were all outstanding. Together they were a dominant, once-in-a-lifetime group of skilled, tough-minded competitors and winners.
As a junior in 1985, Ted won the Tri-County League shot put and was named a League All-Star and a Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic. He followed that up by placing 1st in the Class D State competition in the Spring. He, Nichols, Landolfi, and Egan led AWHS to the Outdoor State Championship, and then to a 3rd place finish at the New England meet. Ted’s performance that season earned him a second CCL All-Star berth.
In sum, 1985 was one of the finest years in the history of AWHS track. Remarkably, what Ted and his throwing teammates accomplished as seniors in 1986 was even impressive.
Indoors in the Winter, Ted set a school record in the shot while winning the Tri-County League Championship meet with a throw of 56’3”. His record still stands, some 35 years later! Then, in the post season, fueled by a 1st (Healy), 2nd (Nichols) and 3rd (Egan) place showing in the shot put, AWHS won the Indoor State Championship. They then doubled up on that feat setting a new record in the Indoor State Track Relays.
Ted and his mates also had an historic Outdoor season. AWHS went undefeated in dual meets based primarily on the strength of the weight men. Incredibly, the group did not allow a point to be scored against them all year (making it two years straight in the shot put). Ted placed 2nd in the shot at the State, All-State, and the Eastern States Championship meets that Spring.
Perhaps most impressive of all was that AWHS, led by Ted, Nichols, Landolfi and Egan finished 2nd only to mighty Cambridge Rindge and Latin in the All-State meet. Cambridge dominated the running and jumping events but AWHS swept the weight/throwing events. It was a stunning feat given the disparity in school size and the number of athletes competing.
In recognition of his outstanding season, Ted made his 3rd consecutive CCL All-Star team and was named a Ledger and Boston Herald All-Scholastic.
In the end, Ted and the friends and teammates he encouraged to join him on the track team were multiple-time league all-stars, Ledger, Herald and Globe all-scholastics, state champions (Healy in the shot, Nichols in the discus, and Landolfi in the javelin) and school record holders (same as above). Together they led AWHS track to three State Championships.
The group was so dominant that Coach Svensen entered them in regional invitational meets in search of worthy opposition. As he put it, “They simply had no competition in meets around here, except in the shot, where they competed against each other.” To no surprise, they proved to be just as impressive against the top out-of-state competitors.
Each of these superb, multi-talented student-athletes continued his career at the college level; Keith Egan at Norwich, Mark Landolfi at UConn; and, Kevin Nichols at BC. Ted accepted the scholarship to play football at Notre Dame, becoming only the second AWHS player to be so honored. (Dave Haley in 1964; Jim Kinsherf would join Ted in 1987.) Ted played offensive guard all four years and was a member of ND’s 1988 National Championship team.
Ted gave back to the game he loved, working as a graduate assistant while earning his Masters degree at Wake Forest. He would later find significant success in the corporate security and real estate arenas. He remained in the Chicago area where he made a home with his wife, Julie. Throughout he was an outstanding man, husband, son, brother and friend. He was taken far too early with much more to accomplish and many more lives to impact positively.
NY Times Newspaper Editor Arthur Brisbane once commented, “The dictionary is the only place where “success” comes before “work”.
Throughout his life, Ted Healy demonstrated what is possible when talent is combined with hard work and leadership. He inspired his classmates and teammates, just as he would his professional colleagues, family and friends. With the dedication of this sports complex in his memory, Ted’s life story could serve as motivation and inspiration for generations of AWHS student-athletes to come.