Dartmouth High dedicates basketball court to beloved coach

Jan 25, 2022

The Dartmouth School Committee voted at a Jan. 24 meeting to name the high school’s basketball court after longtime Basketball Coach Steve Gaspar.

Gaspar, who was present at the meeting but was not told why he was being invited, received the news with characteristic modesty.

“It’s quite an honor — I’m flattered,” he said. “But it wasn’t me, it was them; it was the players. I just guided them. I didn’t put any balls in the basket. I didn’t steal any passes.”

But as the Dartmouth High basketball team filed into the meeting room, clapping enthusiastically for a coach they had never played for, it was clear that Gaspar’s legacy was enduring.

Gaspar coached Dartmouth basketball for 41 years, starting as a volunteer coach in 1971. He was made head coach in 1985 where he remained until 2013. In his tenure he qualified for the postseason 19 times and won 324 games, according to the MIAA.

He was also a longtime physical education teacher at the school.

School Committee members recounted how, at the first meeting of the naming committee, an avalanche of former players, coaches, colleagues and students came forward to support naming the facility for Gaspar. They didn’t need another meeting.

“Overwhelmingly, the recommendation was made to name it after Coach Gaspar,” said Committee Member Chris Oliver. “They couldn’t say enough good things about him.”

Gaspar supporters cited his dedication to students and players on and off the court, highlighting not only the athletic guidance he provided but also the caring he showed.

Gaspar and his wife, Kathy, hosted after-prom parties for 24 years, putting on lavish themed events with games, prizes and lots of food to make sure everyone would have a safe night.

“It was a great honor for us to do that,” Gaspar said of the after-prom tradition.

With the coach’s long legacy of dedication to the school, it was only natural that a piece of the school be dedicated to him.

“You’re clearly a very humble person, but we’re extremely grateful for what you have done and for all the work you have put into this community,” said School Committee Chair Shannon Jenkins. “So, thank you.”

A formal dedication ceremony will be held at an upcoming home basketball game, though a date had yet to be decided on at the time of the meeting.