Page 8 - CHSCA Fall-Winter Magazine 2020-2021
P. 8

 DENNIS GUIMARES:
A man of sport, a teacher of life
  by Paul Augeri
reprinted with permission from The Middletown Press
Dennis Guimares was a two- sport star at Hillhouse High School in New Haven and Providence College, where he played alongside Basketball Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens, future pro John Egan and the future mayor of Boston, Raymond Flynn.
His relationships in basketball afforded him opportunities to rub elbows with greats Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson, but Guimares built his legacy impacting countless young adults as a high school social studies teacher, mentor and coach in Middletown. He was jovial, approachable, always ready to gab and usually taught class and walked the halls with a 7-iron in one hand.
Guimares died Monday in Ven- ice, Florida, at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by Kathy, his wife of 50 years, sons Dean Guimares and John Schren- ker and daughters Kristy (Byrd) and Kerry (Roman), 13 grandchil- dren and 12 great-grandchildren. He also was predeceased by a son, Tyler.
“Of all the texts and calls that have come from people from all walks of life, the first thing they say is ‘your father was a father figure to me,’ or, ‘he was more of a father to me than my own father,’” said Byrd, who teaches at Woodrow Wilson Middle School. “My father didn’t just touch people through
DENNIS GUIMARES
athletics. He impacted them in the classroom and through everyday life.”
Guimares was born in New Haven and starred for Hillhouse’s basketball and baseball teams, graduating in 1956. He went on to play both sports at Providence, but basketball was Guimares’ call- ing card. He was a 6-foot guard for legendary coach Joe Mullaney for three seasons and was part of the Friars’ 1961 NIT championship as a senior.
Guimares had a job opportu- nity lined up in California after graduation, but the path changed when his draft notice arrived in the mail. Guimares joined the U.S.
Army and served for two years in Texas and Georgia and two more of inactive duty before coming to Middletown in 1965.
He worked in New Haven and then for Community Action for Greater Middletown before decid- ing to pursue a teaching career. His first job, in 1967-68, put him in front of a fourth-grade class at Hubbard School.
Before long, he transferred to Woodrow Wilson High School, where he taught history and already had been coaching the boys basketball team a year ear- lier.
“He played the game, lived the game and didn’t get ideas for drills from a book,” said Rick Romano,
who played on the 1981 Wildcats team that reached the Class M final before losing to St. Thomas Aquinas by a basket. “He was a
player’s coach. He knew how to get the best out of us. He coached to the strength of the team and was incredible with the X’s and O’s.”
Guimares and Romano — he liked to call his former coach “G Man” — were part of the same Middletown Sports Hall of Fame induction class 13 years ago.
“It was an incredible feeling. I sat next to him, too, on the dais and we talked all night,” Romano said. “It was an absolute blast. A lot of old stories and good times.”
Guimares coached the Wild- cats for 17 years leading up to the city’s merging of Wilson with Mid- dletown High starting with the 1984-85 school year. Between Gui-
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