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Steve Manguso, who recently retired after 30 years as Miford High School basketball coach to become an assistant coach at Clark University, is shown here coaching a Scarlet Hawks team. File photo


Manguso's Legacy Transcends Wins & Losses
When my friends and I would attend Milford High basketball games in middle school, we'd always set an over/under. It wasn't on margin of victory or whether Milford would win, the Scarlet Hawks won a lot more than they lost in the late '90s and early 2000s, but instead it would be when Steve Manguso would take off his jacket and loosen the tie.
Always a fiery competitor, it wouldn't take long before an official's call or a misstep by a player would get Manguso charged up, and the show was usually worth the price of admission. "I tell people, 'you coach that sport and let's see how you are,'" he said with a chuckle. "I'm Italian, what can I say?"
Manguso stepped down as the MHS basketball coach last month to take a position as an assistant coach at Clark University. He led the Scarlet Hawks for 30 years, and beyond the demonstrative nature was a coach who built one of the top basketball programs in the area and a teacher who always cared deeply for his charges.
Off the court, the man known as "Goose" to many (though usually "Coach" or "Mr. Manguso" to those who played for him or had him in school), is soft spoken with a dry sense of humor. On the court, Manguso was a part of some of the most intense rivalries in the area.
"Fitchburg was out biggest rival in the league for a long time," said Manguso. "When Doug Grutchfield was there, we had some great games. People came out for those games and it was fun for the kids and a great atmosphere."
Manguso called Grutchfield, who passed away in 2006, "the best high school coach I have ever seen." Milford and Fitchburg traded places atop the Mid-Wach standings for most of the 1990s, and parents, fans, and students traveled to see the two red and white clad teams play. In recent years, Wachusett emerged as the chief challenger to the Scarlet Hawks, and St. John's was always a formidable foe come tournament time.
"The district title always ran through St. John's," said Manguso, who twice knocked off the Pioneers en route to district championships. "We were always the smallest school in the tournament, but the kids always found a way to compete at that level."
Milford competed at the division one level through most of Manguso's tenure, but will move to division two in basketball beginning this year.
"Winning the Central Mass title, beating all of those bigger schools, I don't think I would trade that even for a division two state title," said Manguso.
Whoever becomes the next head coach at MHS may not have the same level of intensity as Manguso, but he will take over a program poised to remain successful in the years to come. From developing middle school and summer programs to establishing a level of success that makes players want to take part, Milford basketball will be forever indebted to Steve Manguso. Beyond the fire and the passion, the consistent success also made MHS hoops well worth the price of admission.




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