Candidates emerge after Gorham resigns as East Providence High football coach


EAST PROVIDENCE — Having tinkered with the notion at a couple of different moments in recent years, legendary East Providence High School football coach John "Sandy" Gorham has, officially this time, resigned from the position.

Mr. Gorham formally submitted his resignation papers to system athletic director Bob Duarte and EPHS administrators in the last few weeks.

(To read about Mr. Gorham's reasons for his decision click here...)

He is not retiring from his teaching position in the Physical Education Department at EPHS nor is he leaving the sideline entirely. He has accepted a position as an assistant football coach on the staff of Bill McCagney at Barrington High, where Mr. Gorham currently also serves as a swimming and softball coach. Influencing his decision as well, Mr. Gorham's youngest son, Luke, will be playing at Barrington High in two years.

"Obviously we thank Sandy for all he's done for the program during his 20-plus years. He did some really, really, really good things with the program," Mr. Duarte said Monday night, June 2.

"When Sandy got here he turned things around. The program was spiraling a bit at the time. He was the rock upon which we rebuilt the program, which allowed East Providence High School football to have some really, really good seasons," Mr. Duarte added.

As of late Monday evening, at least four people have been confirmed by Mr. Duarte as candidates to fill Mr. Gorham's spot at East Providence, all are alums and each has strong ties to the football program.

Bob Lyons and Richard Smalls were assistants on Mr. Gorham's most recent staffs. Jay Monteiro and Jon Stringfellow were former Gorham assistants who left the program for other jobs, Monteiro as an assistant at Bryant University and Stringfellow as head coach of the Bishop Hendricken High freshmen team. Also of note, all four are teachers in the East Providence system.

The application period ends Tuesday, June 3. A seven-member committee, led by Mr. Duarte, will begin interview candidates sometime later this week.

Mr. Gorham departs East Providence as one of the most successful coaches in school history. His teams earned well over 100 league wins in Division I and also captured five state championships during his 21-year tenure.

Since winning the 2006 state title, however, the Townies' results have been a bit uneven. E.P. missed the postseason in 2007 and 2008. The Townies then made the playoffs the next three years, suffering a pair of gut-wrenching semifinal losses to Barrington and Hendricken in two of those falls, before dropping to near the bottom of the league the last two seasons.

"Obviously the goal is to get the best possible person in the position to take over and kind of do what Sandy did when he got the job back in 1995. We're looking for the new person to do now in 2014 what he did then," Mr. Duarte said.

He continued: "It's going to take someone who's committed, who's willing to work seven days a week, four, five or six hours a day during the season and also put in the time during the off-season. It's going to take a great deal of time and commitment from someone to get the program back to where it was in the late 1990s through the mid 2000s when Sandy really had it going."


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.