• 4 years, lettered 3 years
  • Helped lead the teams that won 3 NEC titles ’51, ’52, ’53
  • Helped lead the team that won Mass. State Class “C” Championship ’52
  • Helped lead the teams that were undefeated for 30 games
  • Scored a career 192 points
  • Leader in the state scoring with 110 points senior year
  • All-American Team Honorable mention senior year


  • 4 years, lettered 3 years


  • 2 years, lettered sophomore year


  • 2 years, lettered 2 years, Captain senior year
  • Undefeated in dual meets in the 440 yd dash senior year
  • Set a new NEC meet record of 53.2 in the 440


Voted best male athlete by the class of ’54


Click Here To View Their Induction


Willard, known to friends and family as “Snookie”, was an outstanding all-athlete known for his speed and competitiveness.  He was a graduate of the 1954 class where he played 5 sports: basketball, baseball, tennis, football and track and field and earned a total of 8 letters during his career. He was also Captain of track and field team and was the Northeast Conference record holder in the 440 yard dash. The sport he is most remembered for and had the most influence on is football. Leo Dupere acclaimed, “ football was his best sport. He was a great breakaway runner for the 1951-53 teams and top all-around scorer.”


Snookie was born on December 21, 1934.  He was the second youngest of 8, the others were all girls. Talk about a tough life growing up.  As a kid all Snookie wanted to do was play sports. He was a natural athlete and spent his days playing basketball, football, tennis, track, swimming, golf and softball. He excelled in all sports which made it difficult for him to decide which sports he wanted to play in high school. According to his childhood friend and teammate Nate Carter, “It was clear at a young age that he was the fastest and shiftiest among us and we knew early on that he would make it big. He was dedicated.”  Nate recalls when he was 12 years old Snookie went skiing down the side of a hill and broke his leg. People worried this might slow him down. But Snookie reassured, “Don’t you worry I’ll be just as good. I’ll be even faster.”


And Snookie was true to his word. In high school Snookie went on to help the football team win 3 Northeast Conference championships in 51, 52, and 53, and the Massachusetts Class C championship in 1952. The football team went undefeated for 30 games in a row. During his career Snookie scored 192 points on 26 touchdowns and 36 conversions. He was the leading scorer in football his senior year in the Northeast Conference and in the state of Massachusetts with 110 points. He was also given honorable mention on the High School All-American Football 1953 squad. Snookie’s defensive ability was just as impressive. His teammates and coach remember him as a deadly tackler who rarely missed his mark. Swampscott Coach Stan Bondalevitch called him “the best runner he had ever seen.”


Snookie’s teammates and Coach Tassinari describe him as a team player who played with a lot of heart. He was dedicated and hard working. When training for football he would run to Salisbury and Newburyport to strengthen his legs. Coach Tassinari recalls, “He was always one of the first out for practice sessions and never loafed.”


Snookie received many offers to play football in college, but accepted a scholarship from Tyler Jr. College in Tyler, Texas. Nate Carter recalled, “He always wanted be a Texas Longhorn.” Snookie was the first athlete that Tyler, Jr. College ever recruited out of New England. After 1 year at Tyler Jr. College Willard opted to leave Texas and return closer to home and enrolled in Bridgton Academy in Maine where he attended for one year. Following this, Willard went on to play professional football as a running back for the Toronto Argonauts.



“The person having the most impact on Snookie during his career at AHS was Coach Tassinari,” remembers Jane, Snookie’s wife. “Coach Tassinari pushed him to not only be the best football player on the field, but also pushed him to be a good man.”  Coach Tass also thought highly of Snookie and recognized his talent. Tassinari was quoted in the Globe as saying “Snookie was the best back he ever coached in 11 years in Amesbury” Nate Carter recalls, “Tass and Snookie had a father/son relationship. Snookie lived down the street from Coach Tass and on Saturdays before the game Snookie would walk 100 yards to the coach’s house and be there by 8AM before a 2 o’clock game.”


Sadly, Snookie passed away from Parkinson’s disease at the age of 83. His wife, Jane, recalls, “He loved playing sports of all kinds and competition. I can tell you that he literally spoke of playing sports at AHS all the time to me, it was some of his favorite memories of his life. He was proud to be a Fighting Indian and held extreme pride in his accomplishments”.

Congratulations to Willard “Snookie” Gamble, Class of 1954, into the AHS Athletic Hall Fame.


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