Thursday, December 5, 2013
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Paul Gorham, the South Portland native who coaches football at Sacred Heart University, is taking it one day at a time, and has to. It’s the way he can recover from an illness that led to an amputation of both legs below the knees.
Gorham knows all this. His mind remains focused on his todays and tomorrows. Yet he will let his thoughts go back to that day in Pasadena, Calif., and the Rose Bowl. Gorham and his 20-year-old son, Matt, were guests of Chip Kelly, the Oregon head coach. Matt plays football at Brown University. He’s a tight end, the same position Paul Gorham played so well at the University of New Hampshire. Paul Gorham was all-Yankee Conference selection in 1983.
Kelly played football at New Hampshire when Gorham was a graduate assistant there. They became friends. “Being on the sideline at the Rose Bowl was great,” said Gorham. “Being there with my son made it more so, watching two great teams playing in an old throwback stadium like that. It was special.”
He won’t think how something so special was balanced by something so terrible.
Any other year, as late June runs into the July 4th holiday, Gorham would be back at Higgins Beach in Scarborough at the family summer home. He would play golf nearly every day, many times at the Portland Country Club with his cousin, John Marshall, and Marshall’s son-in-law Matt Ryan, the Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback. Yes, Marshall is the father of Sarah Marshall, the former basketball star at McAuley High and Boston College, where she met her husband.
Refreshed, Gorham would return to Sacred Heart to continue planning for preseason practice. He got the head coaching job in 2004 after 18 years as an assistant at other universities. Sacred Heart plays in the Northeast Conference, in what was once called Division I-AA.
It will be his decision if and when he wants to return to college coaching. I asked him among all the things he missed, what he wants to do first.
“Leave here,” he said Thursday. Everything or anything else will follow.
The marvel of medical technology, and the doctors and staff at the Cleveland Clinic saved his life. His family and close friends nourished it.
That Paul Gorham is coming home is his triumph.
Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at: