Teacher, Coach, Role Model, Mr. Horne Leaving Mashpee High School After 40 Years
By: Elsa H. Partan
When Michael S. Horne took over as Mashpee High School’s first full-time athletic director in 1997, the school was 1 year old, with blank walls and no traditions. He decided to start some.
“This is where we write the names of league all-stars, going back to the first varsity team in 1998,” he said, pointing to a row of bricks, painted blue, on the wall between the locker rooms and the gym at Mashpee High School. The squeak of sneakers came through a nearby doorway as a group of boys played basketball. On the other side of the hallway were photos of the teams who qualified for the state tournament, another tradition started by Mr. Horne.
“The only way you can build tradition is to have years, longevity,” Mr. Horne said. “That is a challenge for us. We are babies compared to the other high schools on the Cape.”
It is the longevity of Mr. Horne’s own career at Mashpee Public Schools that makes his retirement on July 1, at age 65, a major event for many in the school system. He began teaching 6th grade in 1972 in the Samuel G. Davis School, which is now town hall. He taught US History at Mashpee Middle School for 18 years before moving up to the high school. He has worked with nine superintendents and 13 principals, he said.
Mr. Horne is ending on a high note, with last fall’s Division 4 Super Bowl victory still fresh. He highlighted other meaningful wins over the years, including indoor and outdoor track championship wins in 2001 and the boys’ basketball south sectional finals in 2000 and 2001. The credit belongs to the coaches and the athletes, not him, he insisted.
“I can’t imagine Mashpee Public Schools without Mike Horne,” said Mary K. Durham, who began teaching grade 3 in 1976 and retired as a middle school teacher in 2010. “I don’t know how many kids owe something to Mike Horne, but it’s a lot,” she said. Whether it was taking a student to see a college or buying a pair of sneakers, Mr. Horne went beyond the usual requirements of the job, she said.
“Once a coach, always a coach,” said Edmund (Ted) C. O’Rourke who retired from teaching math in 2003 after 20 years in Mashpee. Mr. O’Rourke first started coaching basketball in 1984 and is currently the MHS golf coach. Mr. Horne coached softball in Mashpee from 1978 to 1997 and also coached basketball along the way.
He listens a lot more than he talks... That’s a sign of someone who doesn’t have an issue with ego and pride.
- Matthew Triveri
“For me, having an athletic director who focuses on kids making the right choices, it makes the program successful. Forget the wins and losses,” Mr. O’Rourke said.
He added that treating opponents with the “same respect as you would your own teammates” was one of Mr. Horne’s principles.
“Because if the same players lived here instead of Abington or Cohasset, they would be our teammates,” he said.
It was not just children that Mr. Horne cared for, but his colleagues, too, his friends said.
History teacher Celeste Reynolds first met Mike Horne when she began coaching spring track at MHS 11 years ago. He urged her to apply for a long-term substitute teaching position and helped convince her that she could handle it. It was his confidence that allowed her to get the job, she said. Then, when she needed him most, he came to the rescue, Ms. Reynolds said.
“Several years ago I was going through chemotherapy,” she wrote in an e-mail to the Enterprise. For one treatment, her husband could not drive her to the appointment, she said.
“I called 10 friends, and it was one of those days everyone has something going on they couldn’t get out of,” she wrote. “As I looked at my phone at 8 pm, I didn’t have anyone else to call. I had exhausted all my family and friends, so I dialed Mike’s number and began to explain to him that I need a ride to chemo in the morning. He didn’t even hesitate, he just said, ‘What time do you want me to pick you up?’ ”
Mr. Horne took the day off from work and spent hours driving Ms. Reynolds to the hospital and sitting with her during the treatment.
“I will be forever grateful to him for his actions, because his actions speak louder than words,” she wrote.
Baseball coach and MHS guidance counselor Dan Patenaude had a remarkably similar tale about the athletic director. A few years ago, Mr. Patenaude came down with a 24-hour virus, he said. Because he is a type 1 diabetic, such illnesses can be a serious matter. His wife was away, and Mr. Patenaude resisted going to the hospital, despite feeling awful.
When Mr. Horne heard how sick he was, he drove Mr. Patenaude to the hospital himself. Mr. Patenaude recovered quickly after he received treatment and soon was planning to get back on the field to coach the next game.
“I told the doctor, ‘My athletic director will not allow me to coach unless I get a note from you,’ ” Mr. Patenaude said. “He’s very caring.”
People who never knew Mr. Horne when he was a classroom teacher should know that he was a very talented instructor, according to MHS history teacher Brian Hyde. Mr. Horne was assigned to mentor Mr. Hyde in a teacher apprentice program in 1989.
“He was doing student-centered projects before it became the thing to do,” Mr. Hyde said. Mr. Horne would ask students to do presentations that were very effective in getting them to learn the material, Mr. Hyde said.
“He really is a historian,” he said. “When you really love your content, it shows in the classroom.”
Now that Mr. Horne is retiring, another history teacher will take the job of athletic director. Coincidentally, it was Matthew R. Triveri who replaced Mr. Horne as a history teacher at MHS in the 1990s. Mr. Triveri, who has been the varsity football coach since 2006, said he will carry on the traditions that Mr. Horne started, such as the blue bricks and the state tournament photos.
“I see kids looking at the photos, and they ask where their blue brick would be,” he said. “It enhances your program.”
Mr. Triveri said he admires Mr. Horne’s ability to listen.
“He listens a lot more than he talks,” he said. At state and regional athletic director meetings, Mr. Horne is often the most experienced person in the room. But he tends to stay quiet, he said.
“That’s a sign of someone who doesn’t have an issue with ego and pride,” Mr. Triveri said. “He doesn’t have to prove what he knows.”