BRIAN F. REYNOLDS
Class of 1950
Inducted in 1988
Coached by three Lowell High School Hall of Fame members, Brian Reynolds obviously learned his lessons effectively, winning All-Scholastic honors in football (under Ray Riddick), track (under George “Mike” Haggerty), and baseball (under Stan Stoklosa).
On the gridiron, Brian was a mainstay on the Ray Riddick powerhouses from 1947–1949. As a senior fullback he totaled 102 points, including a memorable 3 touchdown performance against Lawrence in the famous 55–0 Thanksgiving Day victory over the Lancers. Lowell later capped an undefeated Eastern Mass Class A Championship with a victory in the Gator Bowl.
As a member of the track team, Brian was a standout high jumper/hurdler. His school record of 6’1″ in the high jump stood for 39 years.
In the Spring Brian focused his talents on baseball, serving as Captain of the Red & Gray nine as an outfielder/shortstop. He also hit over .400 as a member of Lowell’s American Legion Baseball unit.
After graduation, Brian attended Harvard University, graduating in the Class of 1954. He continued an outstanding athletic career as a varsity letter winner in both football and track.
‘Boy, that kid’s a natural’
Lowell High Hall of Famer Brian Reynolds excelled in sports — and in life
Wednesday May 19, 1999 By DAVID PEVEAR Sun Staff
LOWELL — As an athlete, Brian Reynolds was a natural. Anchored in the virtues of the 1940s, he played like he had been sent back from the faster future.
The Lowell High Hall of Famer was humble, obedient and hard-working. And he once scored three touchdowns against Lawrence, probably using that shocking spin move that all the great running backs use now.
Best known as the elusive fullback on football coach Ray Riddick’s first two Lowell High bowl teams in 1948 and ’49, Reynolds also held the school record in the high jump for 39 years, and as a senior shortstop captained one of Lowell’s best-ever baseball teams.
As a teammate, Reynolds made a lasting impression. His death Saturday at 66 from brain cancer staggered former teammates sensing their own mortality in the passing of a gentleman who in their eyes remains an unassuming kid from Belvidere carrying out every demand placed on him by taskmaster Riddick.
“It’s sad. He wasn’t that old,” says Norm Carver, a tackle on those ’48 and ’49 Lowell football powerhouses. “When you’re young, you think (66) is pretty old. But really it isn’t.
“He was always a gentleman,” adds Carver. “Friendly to everyone. Never talked down to anyone.”
Which sport Reynolds was most natural at depends on which former teammate you talk to.
“He was a natural baseball player,” says Jack Reilly, a lifelong friend. “He’d be off like a shot and he had a strong arm.”
“I remember him being the first guy (at Lowell) to jump the six-foot bar in the high jump,” says Titus Plomaritis, who ran in the same backfield with Reynolds in ’48.
“But you should have seen him run the hurdles,” adds Campbell Gibson, who ran for two years in the same backfield with Reynolds and ran track with him briefly. “What form. His finger tips would touch his shoe tips. It was beautiful to watch.”
“Football was his best sport,” insists Jimmy Fallon, quarterback of the ’48 bowl team and also a baseball teammate of Reynolds. “Those 360-degree spin moves you see running backs on TV do now? Well, Brian Reynolds was doing those in ’48 and ’49 when nobody else was doing them.”
Sam Weisberg, former Sun sportswriter and local schoolboy historian, says Reynolds is one of the five best “all-around athletes” ever at Lowell High.
“He was the All-American boy; the kind of kid you read about in books,” says Gibson. “It’s too bad for anyone who wasn’t around to see him play.”
Reilly saw Reynolds play from the time they entered first grade together. They remained lifelong friends.
Each was in the other’s wedding and both were prominent members of the Lowell business community, Reynolds for 25 years as business manager at The Sun. He was a familiar figure downtown with his omnipresent pipe.
Reilly recalls that Reynolds got into sports later than most kids in their neighborhood. He was not gung-ho about games until seventh or eighth grade.
“But I think if you were an adult watching him play, you’d have said, ‘Boy, that kid’s a natural,'” says Reilly.
At Lowell High, Reynolds was just that, a virtual three-sport Roy Hobbs. The 6-foot-0, 170-pounder earned nine varsity letters. As a senior, he was All-Scholastic in football and track and also honorable-mention All-American in football. His school-record high jump of 6-foot-1 stood for 39 years.
His gracious spirit should stand forever. Reynolds not only played the games like few others, he played them as they should be played.
“He was never looking for glory,” says Plomaritis. “Even as a junior, he could have been a star (on the ’48 football team), which he proved to be the next year. But he was very much a team player.”
“And a hard worker, too,” says Fallon. “Riddick was a coach who demanded a lot of his players and he was always on Brian’s tail. Brian never gave in. He would work hard at whatever Riddick told him to do.”
Reynolds was a major contributor to the ’48 team, which finished its regular season 9-0-1 before losing 12-7 to Bogalusa High in the Memorial Bowl in Jackson, Miss.
The following season Reynolds was a star.
He just didn’t act like one.
“He always had his head on straight,” says Reilly. “He was not into himself.”
In ’49, Reynolds scored 102 points, including three touchdowns in a 55-0 rout of Lawrence on Thanksgiving Day. Lowell finished 10-0. Reynolds then caught a touchdown pass in the Red Raiders’ 14-7 victory over Landon High in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.
Reynolds might also have been the best punter in LHS history, according to Weisberg.
In baseball, Reynolds played right field for two seasons before becoming Lowell’s starting shortstop and captain as a senior. Stan Stoklosa, who coached Lowell High baseball for 24 years, considers that 1950 team captained by Reynolds the best he ever had.
“He was a coach’s dream,” says Stoklosa. “He was an All-Scholastic shortstop. He was an honor student. But what stood out most was his leadership.”
Alumni Field’s upkeep was lacking in those days, so Reynolds took it upon himself on weekends to mow the law, rake the infield and fill in holes around the mound and plate.
“I’d say, ‘Brian, why are you doing this?'” Stoklosa recalls with a laugh. “He’d tell me, ‘Well, I think it’s part of my duties as captain. I feel it’s my responsibility.'”
Reynolds suffered a broken collarbone in the Lowell Sun Charities All-Star Football after his senior year. He went on to Harvard University (Class of ’54), where he played mostly defensive back, starting for three seasons. He was also on Harvard’s varsity track team for three years.
He didn’t go out for the baseball team at Harvard. But one day coach Stuffy McInnis saw Reynolds shagging flies on a yonder field and invited this natural-looking ballplayer to join the team.
Reynolds would later score the winning run against Yale.
Lowell High Hall of Famer Brian Reynolds excelled in sports — and in life.
Link to Hall of Famer daughter Gail Reynolds Frank
Graduation/Class Year: 1950
LHS Sports Played: Football, Baseball, Track
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College: Harvard College
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