A Giant in High School Football

Ventura receives Distinguished Service Award from Football Coaches Association

Long before the Boston Herald’s Danny Ventura stepped to the podium to receive the Distinguished Service Award from the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association Sunday at the DoubleTree Hotel in Westborough, the parade of congratulatory wishers had begun.

Several coaches, parents, and players stopped by the table where Danny V. and his wife, Carla, were seated and thanked Danny for his outstanding coverage of high school football.

During their Hall of Fame acceptance speeches, coaches singled out Ventura for his years of promoting the positive experience of playing high school football and providing the student-athletes with excellent coverage of their accomplishments on the playing field.

“Dan is a giant in high school football,” said Coach Serge Clivio, one of the inductees at the banquet.

Ventura, an East Boston resident, is well-known for his Sweet 16 football rankings, his fearless predictions of games, and his widely popular High School Insider Blog. He was recognized as being “the first to incorporate social media into high school coverage.”

David Driscoll profusely praised Ventura in his award-presenting remarks.

“Danny Ventura is one of the premier sports journalists in New England and an ally and a staunch supporter of high school football,” Driscoll told the capacity crowd. “For three decades he has been at the epicenter of what is important in Massachusetts high school football. Whether it is the new playoff system, realignment, a modified practice schedule, a major change in NCAA rules to Federation rules, or any other pressing football issue – he is the first to share the story by Twitter, online or in print.

“In addition Danny is extraordinary at shining the light on teams, players, and coaches that are enjoying a special season,” continued Driscoll. “A gentleman and consummate professional, he is passionate about his coverage of high school football. Those who follow the game have appreciated his genuine commitment for a very long time.”

Ventura was characteristically humble in his acceptance speech.

“Thanks so much for the award,” said Ventura. “I look at the last three people who have won it, Lou Silva, Sandy Ruggles, and Charlie Stevenson, and I realize it’s special company. This award is very special and I treasure it.”

Ventura congratulated the Hall of Fame coaching inductees, the Paul Costello Courageous Player Award recipients, the assistant coaching award selectees, and Media Award winners Rick Moore and Bill Newell (Ventura is a past Media Award recipient).

Addressing the Courageous Player Award recipients, Ventura said, “This is what it’s all about. Not everyone is a star, but to have teams, you have to have special people and you nine are special.”

 Ventura concluded his remarks by thanking his wife, Carla.

“Last of all, I want to thank my wife,” said Ventura. “She truly is the coach of the Ventura family. She’s also the assistant coach because she’s got the brains, not me. And she’s definitely the Courageous Award winner because she’s had to deal with me for more than two decades.”

As he made his way back to his seat, Ventura basked in one of the most prolonged ovations of the event, another affirmation that when it comes to high school football in Massachusetts, the man they affectionately call “Danny V.” is revered by Herald readers from Cape Ann to Cape Cod and all points in between.

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