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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Boston State star Poehler eagerly anticipates Hall of Fame induction

William+Poehler+during+his+senior+year+in+1969
William Poehler during his senior year in 1969

Picture this: Star basketball player dates head cheerleader.
No, this is not your typical high school movie; the superficial relationship and inevitable dramatic break up did not ensue. This is reality. Except this college and the player-cheerleader relationship blossomed into a 44-year marriage with two children.
“[When] I met her, she was cheering while I was playing basketball. It was like a storybook romance,” William Poehler said.
But before that there was Boston State College. And there was Poheler, a standout on the basketball court, and his soon-to-be wife, Eileen, who cheered while his teams were contending for regional titles. 
Poehler will be among six former stars who will be inducted into the UMass Boston Athletics Hall of Fame October 9.
“It makes me think that someone thought of me, even though my career was many years ago. I did put a lot of time and hard effort into playing. And I loved playing, it is quite an honor,” said Poehler.
“I was very honored, it brought back memories, it feels like a long time ago but it brings me back.”
Poehler was recruited by former Celtics star, Jim Loscutoff, from Hamilton high school. There he led the team in scoring his junior and senior year, and was named the team’s most valuable player in his final season in 1965-66.
Undersized but certainly not undervalued, Poehler played big. With his five-foot-nine frame, Poehler was Boston State’s second-best scorer as both a sophomore and junior, recording 16.0 and 12.7 points per game, respectively. In his senior season, the guard emerged as the team’s top scorer as he averaged a healthy 18.3 points per game. In that same season, the three-time ECAC Player of the Week also received All-NESCAC honors.
Poehler had a fantastic story about an event that occurred during his freshman year, when Boston State went to play at the NAIA Regional Championships in Kansas City. 
“We were one of 32 teams representing New England, and I can remember being at the banquet the night before and we were off in the corner. The teams were standing up one at a time and these people were giants compared to us, so coach Loscutoff had Stevie Carl and I, the two smallest guys on the team, stand on our chairs when our team stood up. Throughout the hall you could hear ‘woah,’ and about 10 seconds later everyone realized we were on our chairs.”
Even though the Warriors lost in the first round of the NAIA, instead of being down after their elimination, Poehler and his teammates partied.
“We had to walk across the floor, in a line in front of like 14,000 people later on that day and we were parting after our lost, so we weren’t quite walking the straight line,” Poehler said. “Coach asked me to walk on my hands across the floor, which I did, I remember that quite well.”
A 1970 graduate, Poehler earned a Bachelor’s in education and later returned for his Master’s.
After graduating, Poehler did not leave sports for good. He watched as a proud parent on the sidelines while his children played basketball and softball. The former NESCAC title finalist coached for some time and later went on to play softball and tennis. Poehler also taught for 11 years before working in the financial sector. He lives in Burlington and has been retired for five years. 
In his years at Boston State, Poehler made friendships that he still has today and memories that have lasted a lifetime. Poehler acknowledges his former coach, Luscutoff, as one of the people who helped him become the person he is today.
“He was motivating. We had a lot of fun though. That’s the key word here: fun,” Poehler said. “We had a blast, we had a camaraderie with the team, and there were no really big egos on our team throughout the years I played, which led to a fun time.”