As a high school track star, Al Porter was regarded as the state’s best miler. From 1950 through 1953 no schoolboy distance runner was better than the long-striding cruiser from New Bedford Vocational.

He ran a 4:27.6 mile before the four-minute mile world record was broken.

He won the State Class B indoor half-mile championship at the Boston Garden.

He set outdoor records in both the 880 and mile during a high school meet in Providence.

And he finished second (4:28.9) in a record-breaking mile run in New York’s Madison Square Garden against the nation’s best.

Porter rarely looked over his shoulder during his four years of distance running in high school. For three of those four years he was the state’s half-mile champion. Porter’s collective efforts earned him a track scholarship to the University of Notre Dame — one of just seven track scholarships offered by the Irish in 1954. And it wouldn’t take him long to justify the honor.

As a sophomore, Porter won the half-mile event at the Indiana State Intercollegiate Meet, crossing the line in 1:54.0. And, in his final two seasons on the Irish campus, Porter ran the second leg on one of the nation’s top 4x800 relay teams.

Following his graduation in 1957 Al returned to Dartmouth to accept a teaching position at the high school. He also accepted the challenge of starting the school’s track program and made his coaching debut that same year. For the next two decades the names Porter and Dartmouth became synonymous with high school running in the Bay State.

From 1957 through 1978, his running teams compiled a record of 296-78-2 and dominated the 1960s. Porter’s track team won the State Class C Championship in 1961 and his indoor and outdoor relay teams and cross country squads captured team titles in 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1971. More than 30 of his male runners were crowned class champions and his teams won a total of nine Class D championships. During his 22 years at the helm, his track teams never had a losing record.

Al Porter was special in every sense of the word.

In his first four years of coaching, he had no assistant coach, preferring, instead, to mold his teams the way he wanted.

In 1978, Porter was offered the position of assistant principal at the high school. His head said yes but because of a school rule that prohibited administrators from coaching, his heart wasn’t sure. In the end, Porter listened to his head, accepted the position and put coaching behind him.

Sort of.

Although his official coaching days were in the rear view mirror, Porter always had a track meet in his sites. He became a regular at high school meets and was ready and willing to help in any way he could.

That was Al Porter.

Editor's Note: This is the latest in a 50-day series of Buddy's Best: Coaching Legends, counting down each day from 50 all the way to No. 1. Read the series as it unfolds at SouthCoastToday.com/BuddysBest