It just so happens that two of New England’s most respected teacher/coaches were Bowdoin graduates, and best friends. Brad Sheridan ’61 was a few years ahead of close Roger Tuveson ’64, but the similarities between the two produced a lasting bond. Sheridan, who taught alongside his friend at Marblehead high school, coached basketball for 21 years, at one point employing Tuveson as his assistant coach. Sheridan earned countless honors for his coaching ability, was named North Shore Basketball Coach of the Year in 1975 and 1976, and was inducted into the North Shore Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998.
Unlike Tuveson, who saw both of his daughters attend Bowdoin, only one of Sheridan’s four children chose to come to Brunswick. His youngest, Katie Sheridan ’02, became the family’s Bowdoin connection, starring in softball, soccer, and tennis for the Polar Bears. Her biggest fans were, of course, her father and Tuveson. “They were the ultimate sports fans,” says Katie, “ superfans, would be the best way to describe them.” After graduation Katie accepted a position as Assistant Head Coach of Women’s soccer at the College, carrying on the coaching tradition. “He loved coaching,” says Katie of her father, “he loved being hands on, and helping kids, it was a big part of his life.”
After his retirement from teaching and coaching, Sheridan continued to give back to education, establishing a scholarship for students graduating from Marblehead High School. The scholarship was endowed at $20,000 and has since grown to include two $50,000 packages. A tribute was held this past January honoring Sheridan’s lifetime of achievements. “Before the event I remember him saying there’d probably be about 50 people there,” said Katie. In fact, 400 friends, family members and colleagues braved blizzard conditions to show their appreciation for Sheridan’s lifetime of hard work.
Like Tuveson, Sheridan was close to his fraternity brothers, attending reunions and Cape Cod cookouts in the years following graduation. During Sheridan’s chemotherapy sessions towards the end of his life, his daughter was touched by the support shown to her father by former Delta Sigmas living in the Boston area. “Seeing how lasting those relationships were made me realize how special Bowdoin was,” she said.
Of all his Bowdoin friends however, Katie remembers Tuveson being the biggest presence in Sheridan’s life. “They understood each other, respected each other, and had so much fun together,” she said. When Sheridan passed away in February of this year, Katie estimates between 800 and 1000 people attended the wake. “As kids we always felt like we had him to ourselves, we didn’t realize that he had such an influence over so many people.” His many impressive athletic and academic feats will not soon be forgotten, however Sheridan’s tremendous ability to connect to others as a teacher, coach, father, and friend is what he will always be remembered for.
by Alix Roy ’07
This profile originally appeared in Bowdoin magazine, Vol. 77, No. 1, Fall 2005
Posted November 02, 2005