Through three generations, Hardiman family part of Bishop Brady history
Tom Hardiman, center, throws his hands up in celebration after sinking a long putt during Bishop Brady's 14th Annual Alumni Golf Classic at Canterbury Woods Country Club in Canterbury on Friday morning, September 27, 2013. Along with Tom were members of his family, all graduates of Bishop Brady, from left, nephew John Hardiman, class of 1967, grandson John Hardiman, class of 2003, grandson Tom Hardiman, class of 2001, and son Kevin Hardiman, class of 1978. The school's gym is named after Tom Hardiman, who coached basketball during the school's first year. The tournament is one of several events this weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bishop Brady. (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
If you’ve attended Bishop Brady High School, chances are you’ve heard of the Hardiman family.
The school’s Thomas M. Hardiman Gymnasium is named after the family patriarch, who graduated from the old St. John’s High School in 1947 and coached Brady sports teams for decades. His six children – three sons and three daughters – all went to Bishop Brady. One of them, Bill, met his wife there. Bill’s son, Tommy, also met his wife at Bishop Brady. And Bill would love to see Tommy’s infant son, Theo, go to Brady, too.
“They’ve been an institution at Brady,” Principal Trevor Bonat said.
Few families embody Brady pride the way the Hardimans do. And this year, as the school celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Brady pride from the Hardimans and hundreds of other fellow graduates is on full display. The 50th anniversary celebration of the school’s opening in 1963 lasts all year, but this weekend’s homecoming events are sure to attract the largest group of alumni. The weekend kicked off with yesterday’s alumni golf tournament at Canterbury Woods Country Club and the Catholic High School Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner. It continues today with the homecoming parade, tailgate and football game at Memorial Field, followed
by a homecoming dance for alumni and students. A Sunday Mass will end the weekend. Bill Hardiman – surprise – is a member of the committee that planned the weekend events.
“You can call me Mr. Brady,” he joked yesterday.
The Hardimans have been a part of Bishop Brady since it opened its doors in 1963 to replace St. John’s High School, which opened in 1930. Tom, now 83, was the basketball coach at St. John’s when Brady was being built and was asked to scope out other school gymnasiums in the area to find a good model for Brady.
During the school’s construction, he and Bill, then about 5 years old, would stop in once a week.
“I’m probably the youngest person that’s been there since Day 1,” Bill said.
Tom’s nephew, Johnny, was a member of Brady’s inaugural class. Bill entered the school in 1968 and his five younger brothers and sisters followed. Nuns taught all of the classes in those days, a practice that ended in the ’80s.
During Bill’s four years at Brady, he met his wife, Carol, and the school was the obvious choice for their two sons, Tommy and John.
“It was predetermined, but I didn’t fight it,” John, 29, said. “I just knew my whole life I was going there.”
Why did Bishop Brady become such a big part of this family’s story? It all goes back to the positive experiences Tom had as a student at St. John’s. The Catholic education he got there has been one of the most important parts of his life, he said.
“I’ve had a lot of luck in my life – if you want to call it luck, happenstance or whatever it is – and I’ve attributed it to carrying out the principles of the education I got at Catholic schools,” he said. “And I wanted my children to get the same benefits.”
Even today, he’s giving back to Brady. For the past six or seven years he has helped out with the girls basketball team in an unofficial role. He and fellow St. John’s alumnus Tommy Cassidy also hold a summer basketball program for boys and girls, which they offer to students from other schools as well.
Although not every Brady family is as involved as the Hardimans, many of them will celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary this weekend. People from as far away as North Carolina and Washington are flying into Concord. Facebook has also proved a great way to stay connected through a page for Brady and St. John’s alumni, where people share photos and memories of their days at the schools, Bill said.
In 50 years, Bishop Brady has made its mark on the lives of the Hardiman family and surely many others.
Just how lasting is that mark? “You can’t even imagine,” Bill said.