By MARK QUIRK – Fosters Staff Sports Writer
Mike and Amy Parratto inducted into Dover Sports HoF
Dover Hall Honors Six
DOVER – After the 2007 Dover Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Paul LeSieur had a gift for Jim Dunn.
It was a picture of a frog bench-pressing some weights as a coach encouraged it on. Twenty-one years earlier Dunn had hung the picture on LeSieur’s locker at Dover High School. Written under the picture was “I’ve got my money on you LeSieur” and it was autographed by Dunn.
The picture LeSieur, one of the night’s honorees, gave to Dunn, another one of the inductees, brought a huge smile to Dunn’s face. It was just a small token of thanks LeSieur could give to Dunn, who has touched the lives of so many Dover athletes.
“I was excited to see Paul because I don’t get a chance to see him all the time,” Dunn said. “It’s a good time, and everyone is still young enough to enjoy it.”
Dunn was one of six people inducted into the Hall of Fame. LeSieur was another, and there were also Jahn (Tibbett) Janetos, Mike and Amy Parratto and Chris McKenney. Dunn and the Parrattos went in as contributors and Janetos, McKenney and LeSieur were all inducted as athletes.
Dunn was recognized for his 39 years of coaching football, most of which have been spent at Dover. The Parrattos are longtime coaches of Seacoast Swimming Association, one of the most successful swimming programs in the Northeast that produced swimmers such as Olympic gold medalist Jenny Thompson, who was at the ceremony. Janetos excelled in both track and football at Dover and the University of New Hampshire. LeSieur played both football and baseball for the Green Wave and went on to play in the minor leagues for the New York Yankees’ organization. McKenney was a football standout who played at Springfield College and is now the head coach at Maine Maritime.
The room at the Dover Lodge of Elks was filled with some of Dover’s greatest athletes of all time. Dunn wanted to be the first one there for one reason. Not to get a good parking space so he could quickly get to his car after the ceremony to listen to the University of New Hampshire football game on the radio, and not to get a good seat – they were reserved.
“I had to get here early because I didn’t want to miss anybody,” Dunn said. “I didn’t want to do that.”
There was somebody at almost every table that had either coached with or played for Dunn, and there were just more than 200 people at the ceremony. It became obvious how many lives he has touched when he asked them all to stand.
Thompson is the most notable of the swimmers SSA has produced, but there are many others that the Parrattos have helped get into college or win state championships. They moved from the Boston area to coach in Dover, and now they are in the city’s Sports Hall of Fame.
“They basically made me,” said Thompson, who is the most decorated US Olympian of all time with eight gold medals, three silvers and one bronze in four different Olympic Games. “Swimming wasn’t the only thing. It’s also their support, their coaching and teaching me the ways of the world.”
The first team the Parrattos coached when they moved to Dover was the Seacoast Stingrays, which lost the first seven races in its first duel meet. Now they are churning out Olympic gold medalists and college swimmers.
“It’s pretty incredible,” Mike Parratto said. “That’s the satisfying thing, to see people go on and be successful.”
After he was done with sports, Janetos made a career out of flying in the Air Force, National Guard and Continental Airlines.
“I’m very proud to be selected to this,” Janetos said. “All I have to say is thank you to my coaches and my teammates that made me look good.”
LeSieur currently lives in Raleigh, N.C., where he is the director of finance of the North Carolina Department of Education.
McKenney still holds the high jump record at Dover. His brother Doug is also a member of the Hall of Fame.
“This is a special night for me and a great honor,” Chris McKenney said. “Being inducted with so many great athletes means a lot to me.”
There are now 92 people in the Hall of Fame, which began in 1979. Inductees have to be nominated. The nominations are reviewed by a nine-person committee and voted upon. It takes a majority vote to get in.
Committee Chairman Marty Riordan said there were about 40 applications this year. The committee tries to keep the nominations to about “four or five” people every ceremony, which now takes place every two years.
“This is great,” Riordan said. “It’s almost an extension of Thanksgiving. It’s family. This is a Dover sports family.”