I remember this young man when he was a kid playing basketball for the former Saint William’s CYO program in Savin Hill. Then I watched him coach CYO games for Saint William’s and also manage Little League teams at McConnell Park which is located adjacent to Savin Hill beach. After talking with him last week, it only solidified the positive impression I’ve held about him and know he’ll do a great job as the Curley Community Center’s new youth worker. His name is Shawn McDonagh.
McDonagh grew up and still lives in Savin Hill. He is one of seven children and the father of two. He attended Don Bosco, but when the school closed he went to Trinity Catholic in Newton, which he graduated from in 1999. He’s currently attending Urban College in Boston and will be receiving his associate’s degree in June.
In high school, McDonagh played varsity basketball and baseball. Outside of school, he played CYO hoop and Little League baseball in Savin Hill. He was also a regular at the Colonel Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club (now called the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester), where he played hoop, wiffleball, floor hockey and indoor soccer. His most enduring sport’s memory is when his All Dorchester Sports League under 18 baseball team visited Cuba in 2001. McDonagh pitched and the Dot boys defeated the host team.
When McDonagh was only 16 years old he started managing Little League baseball in Savin Hill. And, he hasn’t missed a beat for the past 18 seasons. His coaching philosophy is basic and much-needed in today’s sport’s arena.
“It simple,” he said. “The kids need to learn discipline, also have fun and to make these experiences memorable. They need to learn to be good sports when they win and when they lose…lose properly with dignity.”
McDonagh coached CYO basketball for six seasons before the Saint William’s program was merged with Blessed Mother Teresa in Dorchester (the former Saint Margaret’s parish). He also has coached hoop for Saint Ann’s of Dorchester CYO for the past five years.
“Again,” he said, “discipline is the key. The players need to focus on the game. I like to coach the younger kids about the right way of playing the game. I’m not about winning or losing but developing these young players into better players and good, respectful people.”
McDonagh formerly worked for College Bound and at the Marr Boy’s Club. He likes his new challenge at the Curley Community Center and loves the outdoor ocean view. He hopes to draw in more kids so they can get involved in the homework club. He also intends to develop a physical fitness program for teens so they’ll stay in shape and be healthy.
“I’ve worked with kids my entire life,” McDonagh stated. “I love this type of job and hope parents reach out to us and send their kids here… and take advantage of this community resource. The teen center provides a safe haven for kids to stay off the street, stay active, workout, and be with friends in a positive environment.”
The Curley Community Center’s director, Fred Ahern, is happy to have McDonagh as a youth worker.
“Shawn comes to us with a wealth of experience mentoring and coaching young adults,” Ahern said. “He has a lot of enthusiasm, energy and fresh ideas for our youth/teen program. I’m looking forward to him continuing the great work in our teen program, which the former youth worker, Barbara Kelly, established at the Curley Center.”