Bill Tompkins has bled blue and orange since he first arrived at Walpole High in the fall of 1973, straight out of Springfield College.
He has passionately directed the Walpole baseball program to noted success the past 31 seasons. The school's inaugural girls' soccer coach, he paced the sidelines for 22 years and he's also served as a basketball assistant. Over the past three decades, he's worked tirelessly on behalf of Rebel athletics.
And now, fittingly, he will oversee the entire department.
Emerging from five final candidates, Tompkins has been named the school's athletic director, replacing Jim Erker, who had stepped in on an interim basis for sixth months after the abrupt resignation of varsity football coach/AD Danny Villa in late December. Villa was indicted in March for the alleged rape of a 15-year-old female student at the school.
"There were a lot of quality candidates, and I just told (Superintendent Lincoln Lynch and Principal Alan Bernstein) that I would give 100 percent, that's all I can do," said Tompkins. "It will be an honor to represent Walpole High sports and the school system."
Tompkins had applied for the position in the past, but you have to "try, try, try again," he said.
That same type of determination, from coaches to players, and "how the parents and fans support the school system," is behind the athletic program's perennial success, according to Tompkins.
Over the next two weeks, he will work with Erker, his longtime friend and mentor, to make the transition as seamless as possible. "I'm excited, nervous, and up for the challenge," said Tompkins.
Erker, who will officially retire, for the second time, on June 30th, said that Tompkins "is a great choice."
"You have someone who is a passionate advocate for Walpole High School students and student-athletes, he's a terrific role model, a superb teacher and he's universally respected."
Erker is not going anywhere, "I'll still be around to help out," he said, but his days as an administrator and coach are over.
Summing up the last six months, and the difficult situation that he walked into, Erker said "I've never been prouder of this faculty and this staff, and the parents, it's all been about what's best for the kids," said Erker.
He noted that two weekend achievements -- the boys' lacrosse team capturing the Division 2 state title with a 17-8 win over St. John's of Shrewsbury and Chris Cameron winning the 300-meter hurdles at the New England track & field meet -- "were a great way to end the season."
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.