Anticipation. Oct. 14 had cheering fans in the stands, the Senior Grill Squad flipping burgers, PC spirit in abundance, and anticipation for both the football Inter-Ac opener and the dedication of Maguire Field.
“This is a great day for Penn Charter,” Head of School Darryl J. Ford addressed the crowd. “Today we are pleased to dedicate Maguire Field and thank a family that is renowned for its commitment to service, education, arts, the humanities and the desire to rid the world of hunger and homelessness.”
That philanthropic family is the Maguires. The nonprofit Maguire Foundation, which they established in 2000, supports education, arts and humanities, and relief of hunger and homelessness. Perhaps the foundation’s best-known program is Maguire Scholars, which provides financial support to students from elementary school through college. Penn Charter is active in the Maguire Scholars program.
James Maguire and his sons Chris OPC ’84 and Tim OPC ’85 made a $1.5 million gift to Penn Charter to fund the new, top-of-the-line synthetic turf field, renamed Maguire Field. Jim, Chris and Chris’s wife, Ellen, attended the halftime ceremony; Tim lives on the West Coast and sent his best wishes.
Chris and Tim were football teammates, and the team was like family. “My coaches were my surrogate fathers, and my teammates were my brothers in arms,” Chris said in his remarks to the crowd. “When you compete for the honor of your school, you form bonds that last a lifetime.
“I studied English and math in there,” he said from the field, pointing to the main building. “But I learned lessons for life out here. Discipline, commitment, resilience are terms that come to mind and are the values I will carry with me for the rest of my life. To play football at Penn Charter meant you were going to be tough, you were going to compete, and you would do it with controlled fury! Nobody wanted to play Penn Charter.”
The 1983 team of which Chris and Tim were a part—and Jim and his wife, Frannie, too, because they cheered at every game—won the Inter-Ac championship during that undefeated season.
“It was the most fun I had in my life,” Chris said. “It was the release valve from teenage angst. We were doing something we loved with our friends every day. It was the coming together around a common purpose, each of us pushing each other to be the best.”
The feeling was mutual. Many members of that 1983 team attended the dedication, along with members of the Athletic Honor Society. Joseph E. Doherty OPC ’85, who played offensive tackle, was one of them.
“When I see these guys it’s like I saw them yesterday,” Doherty said. “We were all friends off the field, too. I consider the Maguires—the whole team—my brothers.”
A few of those winning coaches made it back for the dedication, too, like head coach Bill Gallagher Hon. 1689 and offensive line coach Ed Gallagher. “They were tough on us,” Doherty said of his coaches, “but they wanted us to win.”
Another special guest was Robert C. McAdoo OPC ’39, captain and quarterback of Penn Charter’s 1938 football team.
As for the modern-day game on the field, undefeated Haverford won a nailbiting 21-20 in overtime. But, oh, the anticipation.