Phillips Academy has inducted five new members to the Athletics Hall of Honor. The individuals were honored for accomplishments in athletics and for the exceptional ways in which each continues to lead lives that embodied the values of Phillips Academy and Abbot Academy. The Hall of Honor induction ceremony took place in Kemper Auditorium on Saturday, June 8, during Reunion Weekend.
Richard L. Gelb ’41, P’69, GP’05 (d)
Richard Gelb was a talented javelin thrower on Andover’s 1941 varsity spring track team. Seven years later—after entering Yale, three years of military service during World War II, and then returning to Yale—he finished sixth in the NCAA for javelin and 10th in the 1948 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Gelb graduated from Yale in 1948 and earned a master’s degree from Harvard Business School in 1950. After graduation, he worked at Clairol, a cosmetics company founded by his parents, and became president. When Clairol was acquired by Bristol-Myers in 1959, he stayed on as president of Clairol, eventually becoming president and then, in 1972, CEO of Bristol-Myers. Gelb retired from his leadership posts in the mid-1990s but continued to consult for the company.
An Andover charter trustee from 1976 to 1994, Gelb was a member of the Alumni Council and the Executive Committee of the Andover Development Board as well as honorary vice chair of Campaign Andover. In 1999, he donated one of the largest gifts ever received by the Academy for the construction of the Gelb Science Center, which replaced Evans Hall. Gelb passed away in 2004, several months prior to its dedication. He was the father of Larry Gelb ’69 and grandfather of Emily Gelb ’05.
Gelb served on the boards of the New York Times, Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts, Council on Foreign Relations, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, among others. Fascinated by police work, Gelb helped initiate the New York City Police Foundation. In 2003, he received Yale’s George H.W. Bush Lifetime of Leadership Award.
“Dick Gelb was a man of dignity, integrity, and commitment,” said former Andover head of school Barbara Landis Chase. “I will miss his wisdom and his counsel, and Andover will miss a generous, loyal alumnus.”
1948 Varsity Football Team
The 1948 football season had an unusual beginning and a rare ending: cocaptains were elected for the first time ever—and the team went undefeated. Legendary head coach Steve Sorota and his coaching staff began the season with eight returning lettermen but no captain. At Sorota’s suggestion, the team instead voted for cocaptains—Bo Polk ’49 and Mort Collins ’49—in the first week of preseason practice.
The quarterback slot was shared by Ed Ryan ’49 and Gil O’Neil ’49, and Al Toole ’50 kicked the extra points. The line was anchored by Toole, Dan Wight ’50, Tim Anderson ’51, Pat Esmiol ’50, Dick Gordon ’50, Mal Gamble ’49, and Mac Beatty ’49—with cocaptains Polk and Collins as linebackers. Pete Gardere ’50 started the season with a 40-yard run against Yale—and ran like that for the rest of the season, scoring 42 total points. Speedster Dick Collins ’49 scored 72 points.
At every position there was more than one able substitute. The first and second teams would run up a big lead and then the third and fourth teams, including eight lowers, would take over, keeping the relentless pressure on. Polk and Collins’s leadership and spirit steered the team to a sparkling finish, with Andover outscoring its opponents 207–41.
Andover beat Yale freshmen 20–14 and Harvard freshmen 13–7 (in Harvard’s varsity stadium), Brewster Academy 26–0, Springfield freshmen 35–7, Tilton Academy 38–6, and Tufts freshmen 48–0, culminating with a decisive 28–7 win over Exeter. “BLUE DOWNS RED” screamed the November 12, 1948, Phillipian headline. “Andover’s powerful Blue eleven crushed Exeter today at Brothers’ Field to climax the home team’s first undefeated season in eight years…nearly 6,000 spectators cheered themselves hoarse,” reported the paper.
“The team and the season was one to be proud of and shall never be forgotten,” said Sorota.
Michael H. Bassett ’59, P’97
Born in Lowell, Mass., Mike Bassett came to Andover in 1956 from Hamden, Conn. He earned his ﬁrst varsity football letter in 1957 as a halfback and defensive safety. Bassett stayed on for a postgraduate year and, as starting quarterback, led Andover football to an undefeated season in 1959. The combined record for the 1958 and 1959 seasons was impressive: 11 wins, 1 loss, and 1 tie. Those same years, Bassett was selected to the ﬁrst team All–New England Prep teams.
At Harvard, Bassett split his freshman year between the quarterback and halfback positions. He became a three-year starter as quarterback his sophomore year. That year, Harvard won its first Ivy League Championship (cochampion honors were shared with Columbia, which also had a 6–1 conference record). Best known for his running, blocking, ball handling, and game management skills, Bassett threw two of the longest touchdown passes—82 yards and 76 yards—in Harvard football history. His career quarterback passing rating was 112, and he was Honorable Mention All-Ivy his junior and senior years. After college he played football with the Quebec Riﬂes in Montreal for a season.
Bassett was director of the Ivy Football Association from 2006 to 2016 and is still involved with the organization, which was cofounded by his Andover teammate Hank Higdon ’59.
For many years, Bassett served the Andover community as an alumni admission representative, interviewing prospective applicants from the New York City area. He has also been a class agent and member of his class’s 50th Reunion committee. Bassett retired in 1998 from a Wall Street career that entailed considerable travel to Asia and Europe. He and his wife, Jung, split their time between homes in Wellington, Fla., and Stamford, Conn.
Catharine von Klemperer Utzschneider ’73
A member of Abbot Academy’s final graduating class, Catharine von Klemperer Utzschneider earned a BA degree from Middlebury College and an MA in health sciences, an MBA, and an EdD in physiology and performance from Boston University. Her dissertation on more than 100 national- and world-class runners determined that it’s never too late to excel physically.
Utzschneider was a competitive cross country skier and squash and tennis player from a young age. Encouraged by a neighbor, she joined a running club at age 40; within a year she was sponsored by New Balance. In 1992, she founded M.O.V.E.! (Motivate, Organize, Visualize, Excel!) to help people achieve physical goals, accelerate productivity, and enhance their joy for life. Five years later, she joined Boston’s Liberty Athletic Club, the country’s oldest all-female running club. She became president and later head coach.
An elite masters athlete for more than 20 years, Utzschneider won a Nike World Masters Games silver medal in 1998, a national title in aquathlon (a two-stage race of swimming and running), the bronze medal in the World Aquathlon Championships in 2017, and nine USA Track and Field age-group titles in races ranging from 800 meters to 8K. In 2005 she achieved a fifth in the world age-group ranking in the mile. In 2014, she was ranked first in the country in the 3K.
Utzschneider believes that goal-setting transforms lives. She has trained hundreds of runners (including beginners to Olympians and world age-group record holders) and served as a Boston Marathon coach. She is the author of M.O.V.E.! and Mastering Running and is a New England Sports for Women board member, National Masters News columnist, U.S. Track and Field communications advisor, and Boston College adjunct professor of goal achievement and high performance.
Julie H. Wadland ’06
A four-year varsity athlete, Julie Wadland lettered in soccer, ice hockey, and lacrosse each year for an impressive 12 letters. She also served as a tri-varsity captain of each sport her senior year and was named Andover’s outstanding senior female athlete. Wadland had a remarkable overall record in lacrosse as the starting goalie (43–9) and was the recipient of the 2006 Press Club Award.
“Simply put, we have not seen another goalie who can match the skill, the finesse, the athleticism, and the will to win that we saw in Julie Wadland,” said Kate Dolan, her former lacrosse coach.
After graduating from Andover, Wadland became a four-year lacrosse starter at Dartmouth College and was team captain her junior and senior years. Selected to the All-Ivy First Team both junior and senior years, she also was named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American and selected for the Ivy League All-Tournament team her senior year. Wadland received the Dartmouth lacrosse Harper Award her junior year, the Patty Pierce Award her senior year, and the lacrosse Defensive MVP award her junior and senior years. Those same years she was also a nominee for the prestigious Tewaaraton Award—given annually to the most outstanding American college lacrosse player.
In 2016, Wadland was drafted as goalkeeper by Boston Storm in their inaugural season. The professional women’s field lacrosse team is a member of the United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX).
An active alumna, Wadland currently serves on Andover’s Alumni Council as Equity and Inclusion Committee cochair. She worked in Andover’s admissions office for several years and is currently an associate director in admission and head coach of girls’ varsity lacrosse at Loomis Chaffee.