Letter: Coach Silva Was a Legend
To the Editor:
What kind of person was Coach Ralph Silva?
I believe I was 15 when I met Coach Silva. He was my freshman football coach at Stevens High. I began to practice with the team, but developed a painful medical condition because my ankles and heels were so weak. I was devastated not to be able to play football. Coach Silva had a plan for me: He asked me to help him with the team as a manager/coach. I did, and it was one of the smartest moves I ever made in my life.
I continued on in this role for the next four years of high school with the coach. He looked beyond my weakness and found something about me that he really liked a lot. When I was a senior, he gave me a baseball uniform and considered me a player/manager. I was blown away.
Upon graduation, I went directly into the working world as a dispatcher for the New Hampshire State Police. Coach Silva asked me to come back and be his assistant. I did just that. I also traveled across the river with Coach Silva as an assistant coach with American Legion Post 5 baseball team in Windsor in 1993-94 — the team that went on to be state champions. In 1997, Coach Silva retired as the head varsity baseball coach at Stevens. During the last game, he was very clear about his wish for me to keep coaching. I still am.
In 1998 I joined the coaching staff of Keene High. The head coach, Tom Fowler, is a Claremont native and a former assistant under Silva. In 2003, I returned to the Claremont area and joined the coaching staff at Colby-Sawyer College as an assistant coach.
Coach Silva is a hero, mentor and great friend. If I felt overwhelmed with things in my life, I could pay him a visit at his home. We have lost a legend, friend, hero and the greatest coach any man or woman could ever have wanted. He will be forever missed. Rest in peace, Ralph.