mcgugan_vince_001Vince McGugan '72

Baseball - Hall of Fame Class of 1997











Harvard Athletic Achievements

Vince McGugan earned Harvard’s highest athletic honor, the Bingham Award, for his play as a second baseman for Harvard baseball.  He was the first Bingham Award winner to be recognized for his accomplishments in baseball alone.  Vince was a three-year starter for the Crimson and led the 1972 squad in hitting with a .315 average and 32 stolen bases, a mark that still ranks second in school history for single season steals.  Vince sits third all-time for career stolen bases swiping 57 bags while maintaining a  .310 average from 1970-72. 

McGugan helped Harvard to two EIBL championships and won the NCAA District I title and finish fifth at the College World Series in 1971.  In 1972, Vince won the Wendell Bat, given to the Harvard player who has the most safe arrivals at first, sacrifices, stolen bases, runs scored and runs batted in.
 

Remembering Harvard Athletics

When I first came to Harvard, from a public high school in Maryland, I felt that I really did not belong.  My parents were hard working educators, and I had six brothers and sisters.  My mother talked me into applying.  I only applied because she refused to take no for an answer.  I never dreamed I could get into Harvard.  Harvard was for “other people” – not for me.
 

My first months at Harvard brought all the excitement of being “on my own” at college.  But also, I was afraid.  I really wasn’t sure I could cut it, either in class, or on the sports field.  At times, I felt lost.
 

Fortunately, I loved baseball.  I went out for the freshman baseball team and made it.  I love playing baseball – cold, wet, lousy New England spring weather and all!

Through baseball, instantly I had a group of fellow students to get to know well.  We competed for positions, to make it.  We learned more about what it means to be part of a team.  Together, we competed against other teams.  We learned about preparation and individual responsibility, about our strengths and weaknesses.  We learned the importance of execution, to recognize excellence when we saw it.  We learned first hand about how the margin of victory can be razor thin.  At times, it was humbling.
 

We experienced an interesting aspect of sports.  In sports competition, all that matters on the playing field is getting the job done.  My eye color, hairstyle, ancestral origins or checking account balance (zero at the time!) – all of that – was not relevant to preparing to win a position and compete, to winning or losing.  All of us had an equal chance.  The only thing that mattered on the field of competition was what my teammates and I accomplished, or did not accomplish.  Not what I said.  Only what I did.

We shared the incredible joys of victory, and the burning pain of defeat.  We experienced exciting contests – giving us wonderful memories for a lifetime.  As we became friends, we shared other aspects of our lives, the ups and downs.  I began to realize that I wasn’t alone at Harvard – I had friends.  Maybe, after all, I did belong – my friends were like me.
 

Later, I came to see that Harvard Athletics is a unique tradition built painstakingly over time by very special people.  Some of these extraordinary Harvard men and women I have been fortunate to know along the way include Jimmy Cunniff, Jack Fadden, Jack Reardon, Fred Jewett, Bill Cleary, Fran Toland, Pat Henry, Chet Stone, Art Boland, Dick Emerson, Phil Haughey, Bob Watson, Joe O’Donnall, John Caulfield, Art Coughlin, Chuck Coulson, Hollis McLoughlin (our outstanding varsity baseball student manager), Jean MacIver, Ed Carey, Floyd Wilson, Bob Pickett, Eric Cutler, and others.
 

These special people took an interest in me, and in countless other student athletes.  Exceptional members of the Harvard faculty and administration supported us then, as Deans Harry Lewis, Bill Fitzsimmons and others do today.  These special people are there to help when we need it.  They invest their lives in Harvard students and athletes because they enjoy sports, students and athletics.
 

To me, these special men and women represent the core of the excellence of Harvard Athletics.  They are the ‘heart’ of the Harvard Athletics family.

Thank you Mom and Dad, and my special friends, for the chance – for believing in me.