Campaign To Name HS Basketball Court After Legendary Coach Lyons

Photo: Paul Lyons at a recent Belmont High hockey game.

For David Ramsey, the proposal he and his colleague Ralph Jones are promoting “is a layup to me.”

Officials with the Marauder Basketball Association, Ramsey and  Jones believe it’s time for the town to honor one of its great coaches and residents, former Belmont High Boys’ Basketball headman Paul Lyons. And what more appropriate place than where he did most of his work.

If approved by the committee, the plan is to place a banner with Lyons name and achievements on the Wenner Field House wall and name the field house the “Home of Coach Lyons Court.” The campaigners said there would be no wording applied to the court surface, and the new name would only be mentioned when an announcer welcomes teams and fans to the site.

The pair came before the Belmont School Committee on Dec. 18 to have Lyons lionized for his sports leadership abilities and character. A one-time player at Boston College, Lyons coached the Belmont High boys’ basketball team for a quarter century and led them to the state championship in 1993 on top of five Middlesex League titles. By the end of his Belmont career, Lyons had racked up 335 victories (and 473 overall) and was installed in the Massachusetts Basketball Association’s Hall of Fame.

His legacy continues as one of the founders of the Belmont Youth Basketball Association in 1977 and the Marauders Basketball Association in 1986 which has supported both the high school teams as well as introduced thousands of elementary and middle school-aged children to the game. Nearly all the players of the current undefeated boys and girls high school teams started playing hoops in the BYBA.

But Ramsey and Jones also said they wanted Lyons to be known for how he coached, always with sportsmanship and teamwork in mind. 

“He was very competitive and always wanted to win, but [Lyons] did so with a great deal of class and integrity,” said Jones, who is a former selectman and noted local basketball historian whose daughters played.

The committee, as its policy, would not respond to the motion at last week’s meeting. According to district policy, the School Committee has sole authority over naming or re-naming buildings, interior facilities and grounds to a person whose “work or service has contributed significantly to the Belmont Public Schools or to the Belmont community.”

As for Lyons, he continues to display his modest demeanor when pressed during a chance interview at the Belmont/Woburn hockey match Saturday, Dec. 22 at the Skip.

“We’ll see,” he said.

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