By Cary Shuman
Gerard Boyce has a seat at the table of East Boston High School’s greatest athletes. Boyce was an All-Star performer in two sports during a majestic career that would earn him admission to St. Thomas More prep school and a spot on the Central Connecticut State University football team.
“They used to call me ‘The Maniac’ back then,” recalled Boyce with a smile.
Mr. Boyce was a towering talent during the glorious Mike Rubin Era in basketball when Eastie was a city powerhouse and a state title contender every year. The 6-foot-3-inch defensive giant was a three-year (1988-1990) starter and played alongside fellow Eastie legnds Jermaine Wiggins, who later played for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, John Blake, Sean Williams, and the late Jamal Jackson, who went on to star at Cleveland State University.
Mr. Boyce was often called upon to defend the opposing team’s best player, including former NBA player Rick Brunson (“Brunson lit us up in 1989,” said Boyce) and former Ohio State star Scoonie Penn, who both played at Salem High School.
“Those years at East Boston High were very special,” said Boyce, who was also a free safety and split end for John Loftus-coached Jets teams. “We had a family-oriented environment. We played with tenacity on defense. We were led by the great Mike Rubin. He preached defense and that’s what we lived off of. Our defense was our offense. I’m still in contact with most of my teammates ‘til this day.”
Gerard Boyce remembers fondly the strong connections the students had with John Poto, who was the principal during his days at EBHS. “Also Tom Elliott was my freshman coach. He was a great guy. And everyone knew the legendary Tony Albano, who was my freshman/junior varsity coach. What a great person he was, always helping out kids.”
In football, Gerard Boyce still holds the East Boston High and state records with five interceptions during his senior season.
Mr. Boyce is now enjoying a front row seat for the careers of his four sons, Gerrin, Gerrell, Ghared, and Ghustin.
Mr. Boyce watched proudly as his son, Gerrell, a senior at Everett High School, helped the Tide claim the Division 1 Super Bowl title. Gerrell, whose godfather is the former Eastie coach and school principal, Mike Rubin, is also a member of the undefeated EHS basketball team.
Ghared Boyce, a 6-foot-1-inch junior, may be the best backcourtman in Massachusetts. Ghared is averaging 22 points a game, can hit the three at a high clip, and is already a 1,000-point scorer with many more games to be played in his high school career. Ghared, son of Gerard Boyce and LaLita Davis, is considered a top-tier Division 1 college basketball prospect.
“I’m very proud of what my sons are accomplishing in sports and academically,” said Mr. Boyce. “I just hope it continues on with their hard work on and off the court. Gerell helped win a Super Bowl and has schools looking at him for football. Ghared is having an excellent career.”
Just as Mike Rubin had a profound influence on him at East Boston High, Gerard Boyce says that John DiBiaso has been an incredible mentor to Gerrell and Ghared.
“Coach DiBiaso has been a father figure to me and my kids,” said Mr. Boyce. “He’s just an amazing coach and person who cares about his players as athletes and students.”
Mr. Boyce said he sees similarities between the current Everett High hoop team and his Jets teams of yesteryear.
“I think this Everett team is very athletic,” said Mr. Boyce. “Defensively they get after it and offensively they have more firepower than we did. If they play the tough defense and get the rebounding aspect done, I think we will see Everett-Cambridge in the North final. That’s definitely going to happen.”