Page 9 - CHSCA Fall-Winter Magazine 2020-2021
P. 9

mares and Middletown coach Tom LaBella, the job went to La Bella, but Guimares was kept busy with golf and soccer.
“He enjoyed every minute of everything he did,” Kathy Guimares said.
He started the girls golf program at Wilson in the late 1970s and helped raise the profile of the sport in the state, which had very few girls high school programs at the time, by organizing the Connecticut High School Golf League in 1985.
Guimares coached both the boys and girls teams through the Wilson-Middletown merger until the responsibilities called for each program to have its own head coach. He stuck with the girls team. He arranged the Blue Dragon Open and other fundraiser events to help defray the costs of the MHS teams’ annual April golf trip to Myrtle Beach. He would recruit friends and parents to ride the bus to further reduce the students’ financial obligation.
Toward the end of each spring season, teams used to compete in a tournament named the Dennis Guimares Cup.
“He wanted to share golf with the world and saw it as a great opportunity for kids to be involved, and for the social aspect of it, and for them to enjoy a game that they could have for life,” said golf
partner George Baldwin, a retired teacher in the system. “He was always very successful with it. The program was extremely important to Dennis for a lot of reasons.”
Guimares also was a respected and sought-after soccer official who worked primarily at the college level between 1970 and 2001. He officiated Division I games and was involved in one particular UConn game in the 1980s for which he caught endless, hilarious flak.
“He was actually sick the night before with the flu,” Kathy Guimares recalled. “The next morning he was feeling better and decided to go to UConn to officiate the game.”
“He was photographed giving a yellow card to (UConn coach) Joe Marrone and the picture ran on the front page of the Hartford Courant sports section,” said Baldwin. “That picture had to be six inches high. So here he is out sick from school and in the sports section of the Courant.”
“I remember he got a reprimand for that from (principal) Harry Harutunian,” Kathy Guimares said. “It took a long time for Dennis to live that down. He must have received 100 copies of that picture in the mail.”
Guimares’ family said his presence as a teacher and mentor, particularly for students of color in the 1960s, could not be
understated. There were so few minority coaches when Dennis was in his heyday
“Dennis loved working with kids,” Kathy Guimares said, “and he thought he could make a difference being a minority coach, and a minority teacher, because there were so few minority coaches when Dennis was in his heyday. It was good for him to help because minority students at Woodrow Wilson and Middletown High didn’t have much representation. Not that they weren’t well-treated by other coaches, but he felt if they didn’t feel like they could go to a white coach about something, they could come to him. But he also was trying to encourage all kids to get a good education and let them know how much education had helped him.”
“He definitely helped pave the way for people of color here in coaching and teaching,” Byrd said.
Guimares retired from teaching in 1998 but continued to coach the Blue Dragons’ girls golf team. Kathy and her husband retired to Englewood, Florida, in 2006, but Dennis would return for the first few springs after that to coach the team.
“He was such a role model for all of us,” Byrd said.
A celebration of Guimares’ life will be held in late spring or early summer when it is safe for the public to attend, his family said.
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