By Mike Rosenberg
The breadth and depth of the physical education and interscholastic athletics programs at Bedford High School flourish on a solid foundation, built in large part by Arthur McManus. Mr. McManus died this week at age 89. He had been residing in Bedford and Venice, FL for many years.
A Navy veteran and a Boston University graduate, Mr. McManus was an original staff member at Bedford High, coaching and coordinating athletics beginning when the Grades 7-10 building opened in September 1955. His career there spanned more than three decades.
Mr. McManus had a major impact on student-athletes and coaches as the fledgling school strove to build competitive teams. “He probably had as much of an influence on my life as any person, including my parents,” said the late Steve Shea ’60 several years ago. Mr. Shea, who later pitched in the Major Leagues, and Mr. McManus were both charter members of the Bedford High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Mr. McManus began teaching phys ed in the early 1960s, continuing as teaching and program chair for more than 20 years. After a sabbatical year at the University of Oregon, he handed off the athletics director position in 1971. Programs and courses changed with the times, and “he always kept up,” said former Coach and Director of Athletics Bob Petrillo.
Mr. McManus was part of a generation that helped lead the town through its transition to a modern suburban community. His high school role included coordinating town recreation activities, and he was one of the founders of the Wedgewood Swim and Tennis Club. He coached several sports over the years, and some of the coaches he hired at the high school – Armand Sabourin, Helen Gfroerer, Keith Adams – became locally legendary.
His six children all graduated from BHS and his son Thomas, one of the best golfers in the history of the high school, will be inducted in the Sports Hall of Fame in May – the first second-generation inductee.