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March 3, 2006

Clarke hoop court will honor coach

From: The Republican - Springfield, Mass - Mar 3, 2006


NORTHAMPTON - While he was a senior member of the swimming team at the University of Massachusetts, Dennis Moulton took a part-time job at Clarke School for the Deaf. His assignment: Teach members of the student body how to swim.

With that, Moulton began a career of teaching and coaching that has spanned 35 years at Clarke and is still going. He's coming up to his 58th birthday (March 17) and isn't thinking about retirement.

Still, the school considers 35 years of service quite an achievement, worthy of having the basketball team's home court named in his honor. In a decision handed down by the school's Recognition Committee, Moulton Court will be dedicated tonight in a 6 p.m. ceremony prior to Clarke's game with The Learning Center of Framingham. Clarke plays its home games in the Galbraith Center on campus.

"I'm pretty excited and humbled," Moulton said. "I'm not a person who likes the limelight, but I'm very appreciative of this honor. Over the years, my work with Clarke students has given me more than I could ever give in return."

At various times, Moulton has served the school as aquatics instructor, driver-ed teacher and physical education instructor. He also has coached soccer and basketball. Now, as the school's director of physical education, he still coaches the basketball team.

Moulton, a native of Waltham, is the second long-term coach to serve at Clarke School. His predecessor, Henry "Whitey" Wilhelm, began working at Clarke in 1934 after his graduation from Springfield College. He stayed for 38 years.

Clarke's outdoor recreation facilities, including the soccer team's home field, bear Wilhelm's name.

"I learned an awful lot from him," Moulton said.

Moulton was graduated from Huntington Prep in Boston in 1967. He went to Eastern Michigan University, where he participated in varsity swimming.

"I decided to transfer to UMass, and that decision led me here," he said.

In September of 1970, Clarke officials contacted UMass swimming coach Joe Rogers, looking for someone who could provide aquatics instruction. Rogers recommended Moulton.

After his UMass graduation in 1971, Moulton served in the Army National Guard. When he returned from military duty, he chose to go back to Clarke and enter its Teacher Training Program at Smith College, where he earned his Master of Education for the Deaf degree.

"Like all of us working at Clarke School, you try to bring your students to a point where they can be mainstreamed into the hearing world. Athletics is a great venue for them to display their talents and gain confidence in their abilities," he said.

©2006 The Republican