FITCHBURG – Fitchburg State University inducted the 1957 Men's Soccer team to the Athletics Hall of Fame on September 30th at the Hall of Fame banquet held in the Hammond Hall Main Lounge as part of Homecoming Weekend, the school announced on its website recently.
Among the members of that team included the late Frank Lentine, the WHS Hall of Fame boys soccer coach. Lentine had never played soccer before arriving at the school formerly known Fitchburg State Teachers College.
The 1957 Men’s Soccer Team, coached by Athletic Director Robert G. Elliot, concluded the season with an overall record of 7-2 and a 7-1 mark in conference play, capping the season with a 1-0 victory over Bridgewater Teachers College to capture the program’s first ever New England Teachers College Conference (NETCC) Championship after nearly accomplishing the feat one season earlier. A hard fought win, the team overcame a number of key injuries throughout the season, to beat an otherwise undefeated Bridgewater in the fourth period. Charlie Campbell scoring the winning goal.
After his graduation from college, Lentine spent two years in the military and two years in the work place, before arriving to become an Industrial Arts teacher at WHS in 1960. Four years later, Lentine asked then Athletic Director Larry Cushing about the possibility of organizing soccer as a club sport. Cushing was receptive of the idea and 17 players signed up and was a club sport until the fall of 1969.
Wilmington played as an independent team from 1969-1971 playing against many of the state's best teams and finished 24-14-5 under Lentine's direction.
In the fall of 1972, Wilmington competed in the Northern Soccer League and finished 10-1-3 and were the first team in program history to qualify and compete in the state tournament, losing to Needham, 3-1.
The next two seasons the Wildcats finished 12-1-1 and 9-3-2 under Lentine and the success continued in 1975 with a record of 14-1-1. The 'Cats qualified for the state tournament for the fourth straight season and lost in the sectional semi-finals against Nauset.
In 1976, Lentine led the Wildcats to a 12-1-3 record and qualified for the tournament again, losing to Medfield, 2-1 in two overtimes. He resigned after that season with a remarkable 8-year record of 81-21-15 with 3 Northern Soccer League championship titles and five tournament appearances.
After Lentine, only three other people have served as the head coach including Bill Peabody, Dick Scanlon and Steve Scanlon.
Lentine spent 33 years in the public school system for 33 years as an industrial arts teacher and later in the guidance department.
He passed away in August of 2017.