Steve Sughrue and Mary Kate McCain spoke movingly at All School assembly about the incredible legacy the Muthers are leaving behind. Here are excerpts from their speeches, and a slideshow that was shown at All-School.
From Steve Sughrue:
It’s hard for me to know where to begin to sum up what I think Dick Muther has meant to Tabor Academy or what he has meant to me. I’ve always looked up to Dick, or “Mutes” as he’s known to many of us, as a role model for what it means to be a teacher, coach, dorm parent, advisor, administrator, husband, father and friend.
Growing up, I played for many coaches and I learned a lot from all of them. A lot of what to do – encourage, teach, listen, laugh, support – and a lot of what not to do – yell, intimidate, make it all about wins and losses, or make it about you, the coach. With Mr. Muther, I’ve only seen the good aspects of coaching, and the relationships that develop with players when they’re built on trust and mutual respect. Many times over the past thirty years I’ve said to myself I wish I’d had the opportunity to play for Coach Muther. He stands for all that’s good about athletics; any success I’ve had as a coach can be traced directly back to him...
It isn’t glamorous when the trains run on time. And as coaches and players here at Tabor, we’ve come to expect our athletic office to provide the support we need to be successful – busses ready to go, referees scheduled, uniforms ordered and clean, fields maintained and ready for play. That has all started with Mr. Muther. As a coach, I’ve been to lots of schools; none is more organized or welcoming to visiting teams as Tabor. Also, our collective commitment to all teams and all programs, and our respect for all athletes and performers – varsity and JV-B, female and male, athletic and artistic, starts with Mr. Muther. I believe we have the finest-run athletic program in New England – one I’ve always been proud to be part of. Again, that all starts with Mr. Muther.
More than an AD or a math colleague, Mutes has been a friend. We’ve coached countless youth teams together, and travelled to soccer and baseball fields, as well as hockey rinks throughout New England. I’ve felt so fortunate to work with Mr. Muther and to have Ollie and Owen learn from him as a coach. I have no doubt that so many of the good memories we have from little league, Canal hockey and youth soccer are formed from his love of the game, appreciation for competition, and the joy of being part of a team. One of my favorite memories was from last March when Mutes asked Ollie and me to join Chris and him on a tour of Bates, Bowdoin and Colby; we jumped at the chance. We had a great time, and I came to learn that for those not fortunate enough to spend four years in Lewiston as a Bates Bobcat, Bowdoin, and yes, even Colby, have their good qualities as well.
If we were choosing sides for just about any game, Mutes would be my first pick. He’s the kind of teammate – like Chris and Luke, I’m sure – who, if you’re open for even a second, can slip a pass through. The puck will be on your stick and the goal will be yours. Mutes will have done all the work and you’ll get all the credit. For so many of us here, who’ve had the good fortune to be part of Tabor’s co-curricular program these past twenty years, we have scored the goals, won the games, races and matches, and have enjoyed experiences on teams that will be among the very best of our lives. All the while, Mr. Muther has been assisting – sometimes silently, at his desk early in the morning and late at night, and sometimes more vocally on the sideline as a coach, but always with our best collective interest in mind. The Tabor athletic program is what it is today and it’s always a great day to be a Seawolf because of you and all you’ve meant to us. While we’ve worn different colors through the years at Needham High and Belmont Hill, Colby and Bates, and going forward St. Paul’s and Tabor, I’d like to think we’ll always be on the same team.
From Mary Kate McCain
Cindy Muther is such a good friend to so many that any number of people could be up here delivering these remarks – I am honored that it’s me.
In school lingo we talk about the triple threat – the faculty member who is a superior teacher, dorm parent, and coach. I am sure Tabor will TRY to hire an Olympic level sailor to help coach the sailing team, and I am sure we’ll TRY to hire a future yearbook dedicatee whose talent, support, patience, and counsel have been given to scores of Tabor math students and advisees, and I am sure we will TRY to hire someone to fill her shoes who is willing to give extra help at 9:30 pm – whether she’s on duty or not. But I am sure we won’t be hiring any one person who can do all of those things – that’s just Cindy Muther. She is an irreplaceable triple threat. You don’t like to use the word “old” when describing a person, but Cindy is undoubtedly old school in this. She does it all and she does it handily, no complaints, no fanfare, no limelight, she does it because she doesn’t know any other way than to give her best at all times.
Cindy is also my dear friend. We have seen each other through everything – the birth of children, the death of loved ones, good days, bad days, parenting woes, personal crises, all discussed, dissected and sometimes solved over coffee or some other beverage. She has all but raised Jack McCain, who we kiddingly refer to as Jack Muther. Working alongside Cindy for so many years in Heath House, I have seen her unfailing kindness and empathy, her ability to recognize when a student needs help or an encouraging word or a sympathetic ear, her talent for saying the right thing to someone struggling – that perfect balance between gentleness and honesty. She knows how to laugh with students, make fun, pull pranks – and I think I speak for all of the girls in heath house when I say that Cindy has a huge heart, and a tremendous capacity to give.
I also want to talk about what it means to be a faculty family at Tabor. This is not simply where we work – it is where we have raised our children and established roots, and within the larger Tabor school community that we all know and love there is a smaller group of faculty families who share a deep bond and whose kids think of each other more as siblings than neighbors. If you ask a McCain child what their favorite Christmas tradition is, they will tell you it is the 15 plus years that we have celebrated Christmas Eve at the Wakemans with the Muthers, the Dineens, the Sughrues, the Patricks, the Pardos, the Heaveys.
These fac brats are as big a part of my childrens extended family as any cousin, Luke Muther as much a brother to my son Jack as the two he has. And for my youngest son Teagan, Chris Muther is still, and will always be, his hero and his best audience. It will be hard to say goodbye, but the Muthers are such a big part of my family, of the Tabor family, that we aren’t really saying goodbye. For the McCains, we have Christmas and summers in Wolfeboro, and for Tabor, their imprint is everywhere on this campus – from the sailing center, to the math wing, to Heath House, to the turf fields, but mostly, it is in our hearts. Thank you Cindy, for your years of service to Tabor, but mostly, thank you for being a remarkable and loving friend.