Photo Gallery: Willis Ferreira Honored For 400th Career Win
David Creed •
Photography by David Creed
Willis Ferreira was honored during halftime of Friday's 67-32 home win over Sturgis East. The team improved to 9-8 this season but more importantly, the school was able to honor Ferreira for his dedication to the island's girls and boys basketball programs and the countless number of athletes he has had the opportunity to coach.
Ferreira began thanking his family, including his wife Jen. He went on to say that you can't win 400 games without really good players, really good assistant coaches, and the opportunity to coach a lot of games.
Ferreira, who after Friday is now 401-224 in his career as a head coach, thanked the late Vito Capizzo, former athletic director Chris Maury, and current athletic director Travis Lombardi for the opportunities they gave him to make this moment a reality.
"I want to thank all the players who ever played for me for the effort," he said. "It is hard. I want to thank my wife and Will (his son). That is 30 years of no February break. My Mom is here. The athletic directors from Vito Capizzo who gave me this opportunity to Travis and Mr. Maury, who have been awesome. There has been so many along the way. I think I have seen all of them. So thank you to the administration for letting me be here and not fired by now."
Lombardi told the crowd a story about Ferreira and Lombardi's wife Adriene. Adriene was on the cusp of becoming a 1000 point scorer, but began to struggle in game coincidentally around the time that she and Lombardi began to date. Lombardi said that Ferreira pulled Adriene aside and into the storage room, telling her she needed to dump Lombardi because he was impacting her ability to play basketball.
"We could always count on Willis being honest and telling you how he really feels," Lombardi joked. "It is crazy to think that for the last 30 years Willis has been coming into this gym and teaching our kids the game of basketball at a very high level. This is something that kids look forward to, with hopes of playing for Willis. He has not only taught these kids the way of basketball, but the game of life. He has been a positive role model and mentor for hundreds of kids and we will all be forever grateful."
Before his speech and then afterwards, Ferreira approached his team standing to his right to look at the sign they made for him to congratulate him on win #400. He went over to embrace his players. He was gifted a basketball commemorating his 400th win and flowers. He then took photos with Lombardi, his family, and his players and assistant coaches Mike Ferreira and Andrew Benson.
Thanks to Chris Morris and Sean Davis of the Nantucket Sports Connection, the ceremony is on video and for anyone interested, just click this link and go to the 45:25 mark for the beginning of the ceremony.