LYNN– If there’s one thing Lynn native Bill Dutch has prided himself in, it’s immersing himself in English High’s athletic community. Dutch, 79, has enjoyed taking part in practices and games with English’s football, basketball and baseball teams.
A graduate of Lynn Trade (now Lynn Tech), Dutch is a former East Lynn Pop Warner coach. His friendship with former English boys basketball coach Buzzy Barton brought him to Goodridge Street in 2003.
“He was always involved with East Lynn Pop Warner,” English Athletic Director Dick Newton said. “He was always involved with the community. He knew Gary Molea because he played softball with him. He knew Buzzy and when Buzzy became basketball coach he started coming to the games. Buzzy took him on as a member of the coaching staff.”
Over the years, Dutch’s role expanded. He washed uniforms, managed equipment and served as another coach for the student-athletes whenever they needed a shoulder to lean on.
“Bill started out coming to the games, getting the kids water and towels and washing the uniforms for Buzzy,” Newton said. “Bill did all the little things. Then he started helping with football and baseball. He washed the uniforms, hung them up, managed the equipment. He handed out and collected all the health forms. He did all the things nobody wanted to do. The kids loved him. He’s a true English guy.
“He received an honorary degree at English a few years ago,” Newton said. “(Former English High Principal) Andy Fila put that together. He’s a just a really, really good guy. His wife, Pat, was also a big booster. She did a lot of concession stand work and things like that, the leg work of the athletic department.”
Last winter, toward the end of the basketball season, Dutch’s health started to decline. He missed the entire baseball and football seasons as he remains home and recovers from his health complications.
“A lot of the kids have gone to visit him,” Newton said. “The kids have made it a point, even kids that have graduated, to go see him. He’s been a valuable member of this community to me and I miss him tremendously.”
A fundraiser will be held Sunday (2-6 p.m.) at Knight of Columbus on Lynnfield Street to raise money for Dutch’s medical expenses. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for kids, and can be purchased at the door. The event was organized by Dawn Perry, Brandy Rodriguez and Christine Severance, who’s son, Matt, quarterbacked English’s football team and credited Dutch for playing a positive role in his career.
Newton’s hopeful those who’ve been impacted by Dutch over the years will attend Sunday’s fundraiser to show their appreciation for his efforts.
“We’d like to see a big crowd to support him and show appreciation for what he’s done over the years,” Newton said. “A lot of the kids he coached are now adults. We just want to show him how much he’s been appreciated over the years. He’s just a wonderful guy.”