Framingham's Dan Avery, who recently earned his 400th career soccer coaching victory, never seeks notoriety. It finds him.
Jon Wood thought he had it all figured out. A big milestone was coming.
Turns out it had already come.
Out for a post-game meal last Thursday night with the man he’s played and coached under since the days when Framingham had two public high schools, Wood, convinced his math was correct, sidled up to longtime Framingham High boys soccer coach Dan Avery.
The pair had just embarked from a 4-0 boys soccer victory over Waltham.
One more and you’ve got your 400th career win.
That meant big plans may be in order last Saturday in Lowell if the Flyers won. Avery, in his usual quiet manner, put an end to the thought: The big 4-0-0 was already in the books after Thursday's win.
“I would have liked to take him out for more than just a burger if I had known,” said Wood, Avery’s assistant coach, 24 hours after win No. 401. “I missed it by one (win). I was a day late.”
Avery never seeks notoriety. It finds him.
He’s already a member of the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, a career that resulted in 300-plus victories.
“It means I’m old,” Avery said when asked what 400 soccer Ws means to him.
His focus isn’t on his accolades. He’s more concerned with his charges. This fall’s Flyers (6-0-2 after this Thursday's victory over Weymouth) have already flown past last season’s win tally.
“We won two games last year, the team’s doing well this year,” he said. “I just want to see that continue.”
Consider the 2018 season an anomaly. Same for the previous fall – only because Avery was not on the sidelines.
The 1974 Framingham South High graduate took a medical leave of absence two years ago, leaving Wood in charge.
Avery was no stranger that season, attending many of the team’s home games. And his presence paid dividends during a playoff game.
An injured Flyer was on the ground and Wood figured he would have to come out of the game. But Avery chimed in from behind the bench: “just call a timeout.”
Wood obliged, meaning the player was eligible to remain in the game.
“It’s little things like that that makes him the veteran that he is,” Wood said.
The attention to detail is what makes Avery a successful coach, according to Wood.
During Avery’s season off in 2017, his advice to Wood was simple: take care of the little things. Paperwork. Bus schedules. Referees.
“Just get that all out of the way, then you can concentrate on the game,” Wood recalled of Avery’s guidance. “I felt prepared enough (to be the head coach).”
Avery will gladly accept congratulations over his latest milestone. Then it's on to the next game.
“It’s not about me," Avery says. "I want to see the team do well.”
Tim Dumas can be reached at email@example.com.