New ADs starting
at three local schools
The winds of change are blowing in the athletic departments at Andover, Central Catholic, and Reading High Schools.
■ In Andover, athletic director Chris Bergeron has stepped away after four years and is making plans to relocate to South Carolina.
■ At Central Catholic, 15-year AD Peter Paladino stepped down, but last Monday he accepted the same position at his alma mater, Bishop Guertin. The reins at Central have been turned over to longtime CCHS physical education teacher and coach Ernest DiFiore .
■ And in Reading, AD Phil Vaccaro announced his retirement after 18 years. He'll be succeeded by physical education teacher Tom Zaya.
In the cases of Bergeron and Paladino, it was their choice to retire. That wasn’t the case with Vaccaro.
“It was my intent to retire at the end of next year, not this year,” said Vaccaro. “But my contract was up and the administration decided to go in another direction. Next to my family, Reading has been my life. It's been a special place for me. I will be looking for another job elsewhere.”
It didn’t take Vaccaro long to land on his feet. He’ll be working two days a week for the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association as a committee liaison, a position he said “I was fortunate to get and very excited about.”
In a prepared statement, Reading Superintendent John Doherty said: “Phil has been instrumental in not only strengthening our athletic program but also instilling character and sportsmanship with our students. Phil’s leadership has touched so many students, staff, and community members, and I know that the entire school district is grateful for his commitment and dedication over the years.”
Vaccaro said he hopes he will be remembered in Reading as someone who “added value to people’s lives” rather than as someone who just ran an athletic program.
Bergeron said he and his wife had been contemplating the move to South Carolina for some time and “things just fell into place to make the move this year.”
His parents live on Pawley's Island, about 40 minutes south of Myrtle Beach.
Bergeron said his biggest challenge at Andover was to get people to think about the entire athletic program and not just concentrate on one sport. The Golden Warriors captured three state championships during the 2011-2012 academic year: Division 1 field hockey, girls’ swimming, and Division 1 girls’ basketball.
“I think we were successful in doing that,” he said. “I love the Andover program and I love the athletes but I want to be closer to my family.” He said he hopes to land a similar position in South Carolina.
Paladino, a 1981 Bishop Guertin graduate who resides in Nashua, said “the time was right to make a change personally and professionally.’’
Central is “a tremendous place with tremendous people and this is the right time to bring in new blood. They got ‘Big Ernie’ to take the position and he’ll do a great job. He’s coached football, wrestling and boys’ and girls’ track and the kids love him.”
“I’m a grad of Bishop Guertin and I want to give back to the school that gave me so much,’’ said Paladino, who never played sports at Guertin. “I’m committed to Catholic education and Bishop Guertin has a tremendous tradition. It was a great opportunity for me and one I couldn’t pass up.’’
Around and about
Congratulations to Methuen High grad Sean Furey , who qualified for the London Olympics with his fourth-place finish in the javelin at the US Track Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. on Monday. Although he did not finish in the top three, Furey had met the Olympic ‘A’ standard (269 feet) last month when he threw the javelin a career-best 271 feet, 5 inches. Furey's first throw in the trials was his best, at 255-5.
DMSE Sports and the Gloucester Fishermen Athletic Association have canceled the 7K Run Gloucester! race scheduled for Aug. 19. Lack of a major sponsor and limited interest led to the cancellation. It was the first time in 30 years of producing races that Dave McGillivray of DMSE Sports has had to cancel a race. The organization said those who registered and paid will get full refunds.
Former Merrimack coach Ryan Polley has been named the first men's varsity lacrosse coach at Boston University. Polley coached at Merrimack from 2004-06 and was the New England Division 2 Coach of the Year in 2006 after his team finished 11-5 and was ranked No. 8 in the country. He has spent the past six years as an assistant coach at Yale.
Bentley football coach Thom Boerman has added ex-Endicott star Rob Velasquez to his staff. Velasquez, who spent the past four years as an assistant at Tufts, will coach the offensive line and be recruiting coordinator. Prior to Tufts, he coached at Buckingham, Browne and Nichols and in Northern Ireland, where he was offensive coordinator for the Carrickfergus American Football Club. Velasquez was a four-year captain at Endicott (2002-06.)
John Vellante can be reached at JohnPVel@aol.com.