11 honored by Rhode Island’s speaker of the House and House of Representatives
Ten current Rhode Island College student-athletes and one alumnus were recognized by Gordon D. Fox, speaker of the House, and the Rhode Island House of Representatives at a reception held in the House Chamber at the Rhode Island State House on April 23.
The event was designed to give public recognition to men and women from the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island who have had significant achievements in their academic and athletic pursuits at their respective institutions. The honorees have also demonstrated exemplary citizenship and community service.
The 10 Scholar-Athletes from Rhode Island College were: senior Kyle Allaire (Uxbridge, Mass.) baseball; senior Eric Blanchard (Warwick) baseball; junior Courtney Burns (Rockland, Mass.) women’s basketball; senior Jenna Childs (Cranston) women’s soccer/lacrosse; senior Cynthia Gaudet (Coventry) women’s basketball; senior Brandon Gauthier (Lowell, Mass.) wrestling; senior Nicole Girard (Hope) women’s basketball; junior Kyle Harper (Rehoboth, Mass.) men’s golf; junior Conor McCloskey (Wakefield) men’s cross country/track and field; and senior Rachel Riley (Coventry) women’s basketball.
Athletic Alumni from each school were also honored. John Harrington ’71 was RIC’s Athletic Alumnus Award recipient.
Harrington earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a concentration in English.
During his career as an Anchorman, Harrington played four seasons of basketball as a forward and spent one year as a pitcher on the baseball team.
The Newport native came to RIC after attending De La Salle Academy. At that time, much like today, the Rhode Island College men’s basketball team was a perennial power in New England under Hall of Fame coach and former athletic director Bill Baird.
Harrington tried out for the team as a walk-on, knowing that there was only one spot available, and made the team.
As a six-foot, four-inch forward on a high-octane offensive team that regularly eclipsed the 100-point echelon, Harrington added rebounding and offensive depth. Rhode Island College posted an 80-22 record during his career, winning New England State Athletic Conference Championships and making consistent trips to the National Association of Intercollege Athletics (NAIA) postseason tournaments.
Harrington and his teammates on the 1968-69 team were just the second team to be enshrined into the college’s Athletic Team Hall of Fame in 2009. During that magical season, the Anchormen posted a 24-2 overall record, recording the best winning percentage (.923) in program history and reached No. 10 in the N.E. UPI ratings en route to a NESCAC Championship and the semifinals of the NAIA Championships.
During his senior year, Rhode Island College baseball coach Dave Stenhouse, who is also being recognized here today by the University of Rhode Island, noticed Harrington during a basketball practice and asked him to join the baseball team. After a quick tryout, Stenhouse liked what he saw and brought him on board as a hard-throwing reliever.
After his graduation in 1971, Harrington went on to teach English at Central High School for three years. He came back to the college and earned a master’s degree in urban education in 1975.
From there, he taught English at Nathan Bishop Middle School for two years and headed the English Department at Hope High School for three more years.
Harrington moved back to his roots in 1983, taking a position as the Dropout Prevention Coordinator in the Newport school department and remained there until his retirement in 2000.
Although he left Rhode Island College as a student over 40 years ago, he has remained active in many athletic department endeavors and has been a key member of the college’s Anchor Club.