The last time the Merrimack Valley varsity basketball programs got new uniforms, current players like Ian Curtin and Sammi Osborne were in sixth grade.
They’re seniors now.
And if it wasn’t for a generous donations from the Frank Monahan Foundation, they would have been the seventh set of seniors to don the same old white and navy jerseys and shorts. Instead, Curtin and Osborne (and the rest of the varsity players for that fact) are going to turn some heads when they play in opposing gymnasiums with some of the freshest gear in New Hampshire.
Cause not only did the entire varsity program get new home and away jerseys and shorts, the teams got shooting shirts, and warm up suits. All of it came from Under Armour with the Frank Monahan Foundation footing the bill that came in just under $7,500.
“They gave us a good deal,” said Marshall Crane, founder and president of the foundation.
Each team got 14 home white jerseys, which says “Pride” across the front in navy, along with the school’s logo on the front of the shorts and grey and navy stripes down the side. The school logo is also on the back on the jersey between the shoulder blades.
“It’s just a tremendous gift,” said Kevin O’Brien, Merrimack valley’s Athletic Director. “I don’t think they could be any nicer.”
The away jerseys have the same logos on the shorts and back of the jersey, but the jersey itself is navy with grey lettering that says “Valley” outlined in white. The stripes down the jersey and shorts are grey and white.
“I wasn’t expecting them to look this nice,” Osborne said. “They’re also way thinner and crazy soft.”
“They’re way lighter than what we had,” Curtin said. “The old ones felt like we had on five-pound vests.”
The shooting shirts are half navy (top) and half white with navy “Valley” across the front. The warmup suits are navy with a white strip down the side. These say “Valley Basketball” and are pretty much like business attire for a high school basketball team.
The girls even spring for matching sneakers.
“We”re going to look super put together,” Osborne said.
Now in case you missed our story about this in the spring when we got a first hand look at when a select group of returning players got to pick out the new threads – with the help of the coaches, of course – you’re probably wondering why the Frank Monahan Foundation just gave this huge donation to the Merrimack Valley basketball program?
Well, let’s first give you some background on the foundation. Frank Monahan coached at Bishop Brady for a long time. He impacted a lot of young lives as a coach, like Crane’s along with fellow board members Billy Collins and Jeremy Woodward. Monahan died from a heart attack in 2000 and in 2013, Crane, Collins, Woodward and a bunch of others who knew the local coaching legend decided to do something about it.
They started a foundation in his name and held two events the first year – a golf tournament and a high school basketball showcase. Let’s put it this way, the foundation did pretty well in the fundraising department. Over the course of the last three years, they’ve expanded to four events each year, adding on a softball tournament and a 5K this past summer
And it’s a nonprofit foundation, so they like to do nice things for the community – especially when it has to do with kids and sports.
“This is our biggest gift of the year,” Crane said.
And last year, the foundation embarked on a new endeavor to help local sports team look real good when they’re competing.
“It’s definitely way better then we expected,” Curtin said. “We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
So they bought all the cool new gear we described above, except it went to the Bishop Brady varsity programs and used phrasing like “Brady” and “Giants.” Last year’s donation was done a little after the season started because it came together so late and fast, but the boys team went on to win the state title so it worked out anyways.
“These ones are better then the Brady ones and the Brady ones are awesome,” Crane said.
This year, the boys had yet to play a regular season game before last Monday’s donation and the girls were only one game into their season. And the first time the ladies took the court wearing the new threads, they won big over Pembroke. Maybe the jerseys will be lucky for MV too?
“Hopefully it will add a little swag to your game,” Crane told the players.
The plan is to pick a new local team each year. So far it has been basketball focused but Monahan was a longtime b-ball coach so it makes sense. And Crane said they’ve been contacted by other sport teams.
“I think there’s definitely the potential for other sports,” Crane said.
But this particular gift makes a huge difference at Merrimack Valley. And when Merrimack Valley and Bishop Brady play this season, fans might get lost staring at the uniforms instead of the action on the court.
“There won’t be any better dressed team in the state of New Hampshire,” O’Brien said.
For more on the Frank Monahan Foundation, visit frankmonahanfoundation.org.