Editor’s Note: The following message was submitted by Enosburg Falls High School Athletic Director Chris Brigham, who is retiring after years of service to the community. We wish him the best of luck and an enjoyable retirement.
I wanted to take a moment to thank the community for your support over the last sixteen years. I have enjoyed my time as your athletic director more than you will ever know. I have had the privilege of meeting some wonderful kids and adults alike, many of whom will be friends forever. I have been blessed to watch some of the best athletes in Franklin County perform on a nightly basis and I am proud of the programs that we have provided at this very special place. When I started this job in 2004 there were five sports offered at EFHS, soccer, cross country, basketball, golf and baseball/softball. Over the years since we have been able to add volleyball (we were the first public school in the state to offer volleyball), dance, cheerleading, indoor track, alpine skiing, snowboarding, bowling, wrestling, and track & field. Most of these programs are still competing. We have established a Hall of Fame, as well as our athletic leadership group, homecoming weekend and grown our Boosters Club into one of the best groups in the state. We now host a very popular cross country meet in October, thank-you Enosburg Falls Country Club for allowing us to use the course for this special event.
Over this time EFHS has won 17 team state championships in baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and snowboard and several individual championships in snowboard & track & field along with countless league championships. This has all been accomplished because Enosburg has embraced a passion for our sports teams and have given them their unwavering support. Our local small businesses have been very generous. These people are constantly hit with requests for donations in some form and often pony up without even being asked. Thanks to all of you for your support. I have had the privilege of working for and with 8 different middle school and high school principals. Each of them had different leadership styles but they all gave me the greenlight to add programs and have given me their total support. They would not have been able to do this unless we had a school board who was willing to fund these programs so thank-you to all of the tireless principals and schoolboard members who have served over this period of time.
We have had and still have some phenomenal coaches. They have given everything they have to make these programs and the student experience something to cherish. We all know that you can’t win championships or even be competitive with talent alone so thank-you coaches. Each one of you have made me proud to wear the green & white. To our Boosters club, where do I begin? I have never in my 64 years seen or been a part of such a hard-working and generous group of people. You have pretty much done the homecoming event on your own, donated countless hours to tending the snack bar, manning the door at basketball games and dance competitions, setting up and tearing down for homecoming and have generated tens of thousands of dollars for our student athletes. Much of our success is directly a result of your hard work. Thank-you one and all.
I want to thank all of the officials who have served our students over the years.These people receive a ton of criticism and little thanks for their service to our schools. We could not compete without them; they are our teammates. Also, to the fellow Athletic Directors across the state and especially to our fellow Franklin County AD’s Geri Witalec at Fairfax, Dan Marlow at BFA, John Lumsden at MVU and Nelson Mayhew at Richford. These are very special people and each of their communities are lucky to have them in their schools. Also, many thanks to the Messenger and Courier for their outstanding coverage of high school sports in Franklin County. When you think of the different sports programs across the area, they do a really good job giving everyone their recognition. Thank-you to Joseph Donarum and Lynn Cotta for respecting my wishes to keep my departure low key. I am a very emotional person and I am grateful that they respected my wishes.
And most of all, thank-you to every EFHS Student who has come through our school over these 16 years. Every one of you are special and many of you have made this old man feel special at one time or another. I mean what 64 year old gets asked by the kids to crowd surf, fun, fun, fun and thank-you for not dropping me!
When I look back over the last 16 years some things come to mind. Every State Championship has been special but who will ever forget the 2017 Boy’s State Championship Basketball Team appropriately dubbed “Dunk City.” They went 24-0 and reversed the curse that had plagued EFHS boys basketball forever. And how about Calvin Carter winning the Gatorade Player of the year? I’ll always remember Paul Ladd’s flip-throw basically throwing the game winning goal into the net off the goalie’s hand from mid-field to win the boy’ soccer championship in 2006. Maybe it’s Nick Blaney’s aerial stunts leading Enosburg to its first ever Snowboard State Title or Alexa Johnson and Braedon Howrigan signing letters of intent to attend Division I Colleges on athletic scholarships. Or the 2019-2020 Boys and Girls Basketball teams both making it to Barre for the final four. Pretty special, the list goes on and on and I am proud of all of these. However, my proudest moment was early on in my career when the community of Enosburg put-on a show drive to provide student refugees from Winooski with soccer cleats. They had just played in Enosburg and as they left the field that night one by one, they peeled off the shoes which were held together with tape and dropped them into the trash cans. When word got out our community donated a bin of used soccer cleats which I brought to their school. Ironically a short time later they defeated us in the semi-finals wearing our own shoes, they won the game that night but we were the recipients of something much bigger. Our school received national recogntion for our goodwill. We were contacted from a television station in Boston, we were featured in NIAAA magazine and we received countless e-mails and letters from across the country commending our efforts. How proud we should be to have a community that not only cares about the kids in their school but also the kids who are less fortunate the us. Thank-you for doing that.
We now have a young and talented individual to take things over at EFHS, his name is Anthony Sorentino. I hope you will give him the same unwavering support that I have received. If you do, I am confident that he will take Enosburg Athletics to the next level opening doors for our kids that we could have never dreamed possible.
So, I guess this is it, my last official task as Athletic Director at Enosburg Falls High School. Now I’ll be an Enosburg fan. Like Shannon Kane said at a recent meeting “Once a Hornet, always a Hornet”
We’ll see you all down the road.