Bill Gillis and Peter Pedro left a lasting impression on the athletes they coached on the Salem State University track team in the 1970s. So much so, in fact, that nearly 50 years later, a group of these players are organizing a scholarship fund to honor their deceased coaches.
Bill Goodwin and Jim Ridley are leading the fundraising effort for two scholarships – one for a student from Marblehead, Gillis’ hometown, and one from Lynn Tech, Pedro’s alma mater.
“Bill (Gillis) was the head coach and Peter worked with the sprinters,” Goodwin said. “Many of us stayed in touch and when they passed away we decided to reach out to the communities to start this scholarship to keep their memory alive.”
The plan is to award two $500 scholarships starting in this year’s senior class. The winners will be selected by the guidance services of each school.
“It’s something we want to do to recognize two guys we thought the world was about,” said Goodwin, the former headmaster of Gloucester High School. “Billy Gillis was like a father to a lot of us. We had a bond and a lot of us stayed together.
Ridley, a former Lynn Tech manager who is now an assistant manager at St. Mary’s in Lynn, said their athletes hold Gillis and Pedro in high regard.
“They left such an impression on us,” said Ridley, who graduated from Salem State in 1976 and competed on the track team for four years. “We started meeting as a group around 1980 and we still do it once a year.” Bob Seibold also played a leading role in organizing these mini-meetings.
The hope is to raise enough seed money so these scholarships can be presented for the foreseeable future, Ridley said.
Donations to the Bill Gillis/Peter Pedro Scholarship can be sent to:
Bill Gillis/Peter Pedro Scholarship
37 Central Street.
Salem, MA 01970
Please write FOR DEPOSIT ONLY and account number 00601411910 on the back of the cheque.