To put it mildly, last week was a brutal week for the Andover High sports community. Three major figures from AHS sports passed: Barry Connors, Bill Drummond and Louis Tisbert.
Andover Hall of Famer Barry Connors (AHS ‘63) died Oct. 30 of cancer. He was a great football player, earning tryouts with the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, and also was a high school basketball star.
The gentle giant (he was 6-4, 260 in college) was a longtime area referee and was a physical education teacher for 36 years in Billerica. The lede of his obit read “an Andover Townie” and he certainly was.
As gregarious as they come, Connors, 74, had a heart of gold, quietly counseling many going through tough times.
I did a story on him in 2014 and he was one funny guy.
When asked how to spell the name of one of his West Texas State teammates, he quipped, “I don’t know. That’s why I was there, I couldn’t spell!”
Two of his sons made names for themselves: 6-6, 220-pound Billerica High QB Justin Connors and Barry Connors Jr. from Andover High, who built Cushing Academy basketball into a national powerhouse.
His late father, “The Baron” Connors, was also an Andover legend.
Left ‘em laughing
Bill Drummond was a rare bird, and not just for his passion for birding.
He was about as good a math teacher as you’d ever come across because he loved kids. His energy was so infectious everybody loved his class, even an indifferent student like yours truly.
He was famous for his nicknames, which always made you feel like a million bucks. Everybody had a nickname, and a slew of his former students delighted in sharing them in recent days on social media.
North Andover teacher/coach Megan Pinksten was a basketball star at Andover.
She tweeted: “He still called me ‘Pick and roll Pinksten’ when he would announce me as a coach when I was in my 30s. To say that Mr. Drummond had fun along the way is an understatement.”
Tracey Burns Schoonmaker (AHS ‘76) wrote on Drummond’s obituary guestbook: “He was one in 7.6 billion.”.
Drummond, 76, taught at Andover High for 40 years and was an inimitable PA announcer, as any of the Red Spring Boys could attest.
With the possible exception of Jay Leno, he may have been the funniest person to grace the halls of Andover High.
His trademark lines, delivered in his deadpan style, included “Keep Lovely Field lovely” and “the pizza here is delicious.”
Louis Tisbert, 88, was the father of star athlete-longtime AHS coach Steve Tisbert and grandfather to 13 and great-grandfather to nine. Among his grandchildren were Steve’s Hall of Fame children Brian Tisbert and Lisa Tisbert Rodger.
He was an accomplished mason and horse breeder and a huge passion was Andover High sports.