Basketball team wears blue for Trooper Thomas Clardy

St JohnsSt johns tributeSt. John’s always wears red and white, but before Saturday’s Division 1 boys’ basketball state final, the Pioneers were wearing blue. The St. John’s players all wore T-shirts with the words “Massachusetts State Police” across the front, but the change in uniform came for a good reason. The Pioneers wanted to support senior Tyler Clardy, whose father, Massachusetts State Trooper Thomas Clardy, was struck and killed Wednesday during a traffic stop on the Mass Pike in Charlton. “My dad is a 28-year veteran of the state police,” said St. John’s senior Joe Murphy, who scored eight points in the Pioneers’ state final defeat. “He knew Trooper Clardy personally, I’ve met him a few times. St. John’s is more than a high school it’s a brotherhood. Tyler Clardy being a senior, he’s a brother.” St. John’s wore its blue T-shirts in salute to Trooper Clardy, who lived in Hudson, during the pregame shootaround and on the bench, while several students and adult fans wore identical shirts to break with the Pioneers’ usual sea of red. Athletic director Pat White said two St. John’s alumni donated 150 shirts. “I got a phone call from the two gentleman who spearheaded this, John Quinlivan and Pat Bibaud,” White said. “They contacted me, and John said, ‘Pat, I’d really like to donate 150 shirts in support of Tyler and try to have the players wear them during the pregame and shootaround.’ ” White passed the idea on to Murphy, who was an immediate advocate, and the players decided to use the big stage — St. John’s was appearing in its first state final since 2011 — to show support for well-liked student and family. “Everybody talks about sports and winning, but it kind of shows you that for the kids who play, it’s about more than winning games,” St. John’s coach Bob Foley said. “It’s also about life and trying whatever way you can to help out a family that I’m sure is struggling right now. That’s why they wanted to support them.” White said Tyler Clardy returned to school on Friday to try to regain a sense of normalcy and that he was proud of Clardy’s poise and strength. “He’s one of those kids who if you ever forget a pencil or need a sheet of notebook paper, he’s there to help,” Murphy said. “He’s a very nice kid. He’s one of those kids you never hear a bad thing about.” Four state troopers also appeared on the sidelines for the game. White said they knew Trooper Clardy and were there to support the school’s tribute. “The Clardy family has been in our thoughts and prayers all week,” Murphy said. “State policemen are out there trying to make the world a better place. They put their lives on the line every day. I know that’s what Trooper Clardy was doing.”

   For Senior Joe Murphy's interview click here