West Roxbury, Mass.
PEOPLE HAVE told
Bill Hanson, the fiery coach of Catholic Memorial in West Roxbury, Mass., that
he reminds them of Bobby Knight, and not just because both win. "I'm kind
of high-spirited," Hanson says, "but I'm working on channeling it in a
Hanson, 57, says
this with a twinkle in his eye. With 503 wins, and having won 16 state titles
in the last 21 years, most recently in 2005, Hanson won't be changing his style
anytime soon. When he curses a blue streak after a player messes up, he doesn't
apologize. "The American vernacular contains these words," he says with
a shrug. "It's part of life."
Ted Donato, who
played forward for the Boston Bruins for nine seasons and is now coach at
Harvard, is one of the 26 NHL draft picks Hanson has coached. He credits Hanson
with being ahead of other high school coaches in using video, creating power
plays and forechecking systems, and says Hanson's practices are more fast-paced
than any Donato experienced in college or the NHL. Sometimes Hanson can push
the limits: In '88 he threw one of his players up against the glass after the
kid rolled his eyes at a criticism. In '96 he challenged one of his stars to a
fight in the locker room after he'd mouthed off during the postgame handshakes.
Years later, at weddings and christenings, they laugh about it. "I'm old
school," says Hanson, who is also CM's guidance counselor. "We're a
private Catholic school. We educate the entire kid. If I had to go around being
politically correct, they'd see my backside real fast."
None of his
players want that. "I've grown up a ton in my three years playing for
him," says Mike Keenan, a senior on this year's team, which was 4--0
through Sunday. "He cares about everything: what you wear, how you stand
during the national anthem. If he tells you to skate around a circle in
practice, you'd better not cut corners."