BRATTLEBORO — Art Freeman and Frank Taylor are part of the Class of 2021 for the Brattleboro Union High School Athletic Hall of Fame (officially the BHS/BUHS Athletic Hall of Fame). An induction ceremony and banquet will be held at Post 5 American Legion on April 2, 2022, at 6 p.m.
Freeman was a dedicated three-sport athlete at BUHS, lettering in football, basketball and track. As a junior, he was given honorable mention as an All-State quarterback for the 1956 season. In basketball, he was runner-up in the Southern Vermont League for individual scoring with 211 points his senior year (1957-1958 season). He was a four-year member of the BUHS track team. As a senior, in 1958, he won the 880 at the state track meet. At the New England meet, he won his heat, which prompted the Boston University coach in attendance, Doug Raymond, to offer him a scholarship.
At B.U., Freeman majored in Physical Education. He set the school track record for the mile with a time of 4:11:05 as a junior in 1961, which held for over a decade. At the IC4A meet (New England plus states west to Michigan and south to North Carolina) held in Madison Square Garden, he was fourth in the mile indoors and third outdoors. In his senior year, 1962, he was named co-captain of the track team. He would win a New England track meet title for the 880-yard run with a time of 1:54:9. At the same meet, he also ran a leg of the one-mile relay, with the B.U. team winning the heat with a time of 3:24:4. In the IC4A meet, he was fourth in the 1,000-yard indoor event.
After graduation, he returned to Brattleboro to teach physical education. He held that position for 40 years and his work allowed him time to coach football, basketball, and track and field. He was an assistant varsity and freshmen football coach under Andy Natowich for six years from 1963-1968. He was head coach of the varsity basketball team from 1969-1977. He coached JV basketball for more than a decade, then moving on to freshmen and middle school for many more years. Working with Bob Parro, Freeman was instrumental in starting and maintaining the junior/senior pro basketball leagues that are still running today. He also coached AAU over the years with many different players/teams — ending his career by leading his grandson to a state championship in 2009.
Freeman was an assistant track and field coach for six years, with two state championships (1964 and 1965). He was head coach for 26 years, 1969-1994, winning two more state championships. His teams had 31 individual state champions. Coach Freeman helped hundreds of young men and women to strengthen their minds and bodies, to work for common goals, and to achieve as much success for themselves as possible. His years of service and dedication were honored when the BUHS oval was named “Freeman Track.”
Taylor stood supreme, perhaps the most accomplished athlete ever to graduate from Brattleboro High School. He lettered in four sports — football, basketball, baseball and track. He was named first team Southern Vermont in basketball in his junior and senior year. He was captain of the All-State Football Team both his junior and senior years.
Taylor was a two-time grand slam athlete at the University of Vermont, lettering in all four sports in which he participated (football, basketball, baseball, track). He captained football, basketball and baseball at UVM. If he had more time, he likely would have lettered in more sports since he was a skiing specialist, too. He won the intramural bowling competition at UVM. He also won the grueling hexathlon championship at the Burlington school. He was a member of the Inaugural Class of University of Vermont’s Hall of Fame in 1969.
In 1941, Taylor joined the Navy after graduation. Rumors have it that pro teams for the three major sports were interested in him, but he did not sign a contract. He served as coach of several high school teams and played semi-professional football, basketball and baseball.
Other members of the 2021 Class are: Kari Greenbaum, Ann Wheelock, Jason Dunklee, Drew Richards, Ben Gilbert, Geoff (Jeff) Sather, David Lantz, and the 1970-1974 BUHS girls tennis team.