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News & Updates

Behind the Whistle: A Conversation With Coach Hugh “Snuffy” Gelston

March 28, 2024
March Madness is right around the corner, which means now is the perfect time to highlight one of our long-time residents and a local basketball coaching legend: Coach Hugh Gelston, affectionately known as Snuffy. His years of dedication to this sport have not diminished his love for it. To gauge his passion for basketball, all you have to do is talk to him about it …

Q: Before we jump into basketball, tell me how long have you lived at Springwell?

A: I moved into Springwell in October 2018 with my wife. We were one of the first residents of the Homestead. When my wife needed to move to Memory Care, I moved out for a bit, and after she passed away in 2021, I was able to move back.

Q: How long have you been involved in basketball?

A: I played in high school and college as a guard. As for coaching, I did that for 50+ years. I started coaching at the University of Baltimore when it used to be located right next to Springwell, where the current farmers market stands.

I was hired at Boys’ Latin in 1965 as a teacher and coach. In 1969 I started coaching varsity, and I served as the Athletic Director from 1972-2002. I coached 29 wonderful years at BL, where we won more than 400 games!

Q: Is your family as passionate about basketball as you are?

A: My wife was really into the sport. In fact, she was Commissioner of Officials for the Colonial Athletic Association. As for my four kids, two of my sons played and I was lucky enough to coach both of them. And even more exciting, both boys won their conference championships in high school.

Q: Where did you go to school?

A: I graduated from Towson High. On my file there, someone wrote in red across the front “Not recommended for College.” Imagine that?!

I spent one post graduate year at Boys’ Latin and finished in 1956. From there I went to college at The University of The South (Sewanee), where I earned five varsity letters — four in basketball and one in cross country. I also was the captain of the basketball team and President of the Sewanee Varsity Club.

Q: Have you received any awards?

A: I was fortunate to participate in many championships, both as an athlete and coach. In 2008 I was inducted into the BL Athletic Hall of Fame, and then in 2016 I was named a Boys’ Latin School Distinguished Alumnus. They even named the main Boys Latin gymnasium after me. All of it was an honor.

Q: Who are you rooting for in the upcoming NCAA tournament?

A: I will definitely be cheering on Connecticut, which has a Boys Latin player, Cam Spencer, on their squad. I can’t wait to root on a fellow Laker.

Thank you Coach!

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