The UMass men’s and women’s water polo program, originally formed in1973 by Bill McCafferty, held their first ever 1970s-era team reunion on May 9th at John Harvard’s in Cambridge, MA. Over 20 former players attended including current UMass Aquatics Director and Men’s Head Swim Team Coach Russ Yarworth and special guest, Ed Reed, the former Head Coach from Brown University and longtime NCAA water polo leader. Other attendees included Ron Boucher, Stu Carlisle, Alix (DenHartog) Caufield, Meegan (Primevera) Colley, Bob and Doug Corb, George Collias, Joe Hebert, Mary Kowalski, Chris and Duncan Lomas, Henry and Peter MacLean, Ric Notini, Becca Reggio, Bill Tharion, Jane Welzel, Dave Young, and Kathy Zaffino, Thanks to Facebook and Linked In, the whereabouts of 80% of all players were located. Traveling the furthest to attend were Ric Notini and Bob Corb (along with the 1978 NEWPA Championship Game Ball!) from California and Jane Welzel from Colorado.
Highlights of the reunion included the viewing of a treasure trove of digitally enhanced Kodachrome color slides taken by Ric Notini back in the 70s, a compilation by Bill Tharion of water polo news clippings from the Daily Collegian, and a digitally remastered black and white film, of the Men’s team playing Trinity College at Boyden in 1978 kept in safe keeping by Bill Tharion for 36 years, set to music of the late 70s, and enhanced with special effects editing by Henry MacLean.
Topping everything off, Joe Hebert produced and distributed an exact replica of the team’s 1978 t-shirt inscribed on the back with the famous Massachusetts Cape Cod Arm holding a water polo ball.
Finally, Ric Notini and Bill Tharion, former goalies and slow swimmers back in their playing days, challenged the reunion attendees to train and compete in the upcoming Boston Harbor Shark fest 1.5 k swim on September 21st and offered to contribute $100 to the Boston One Fund for each and every swimmer from the 1975-80 era who finish ahead of them.
If you played water polo (both men and women) for UMASS in the 1970s and did not know about this reunion, please send an e-mail to Bill Tharion at email@example.com for possible future reunions and get-togethers.