A four-year varsity soccer, basketball, and outdoor track competitor at Central Catholic (class of 2002), and three-sport captain, Brigid Hegarty went on to a stellar career on the court at St. Michael’s College.
These days, she is teaming up with a former basketball rival, head coach Megan Ryan, as a second-year assistant coach on the North Andover High girls’ basketball team.
The 31-year-old North Andover resident is having a blast mixing that with her day job as a fourth-grade teacher at the Leahy School in Lawrence.
“I really like my role,” said Hegarty, who played against Ryan (Andover High/Assumption College) in high school and college but was an AAU teammate.
“I like getting to know the girls and working with them and being able to say I was in your shoes. It goes well with teaching; it’s just in a different setting.”
Athletics helps mold her teaching messages.
“I always relate my entire life to sports, and what you learn there carries into the classroom as well,” she said.
“It’s the way it teaches you about teamwork and dealing with other people and dealing with people who are different than you are. It teaches you about leadership, especially as you get older and become a captain and learn how to rally the troops. It definitely helps in teaching and working on collaborative teams in school. And the competitive fire I always had as an athlete I try to build in my students, not against each other but within themselves, wanting to be better and not giving up even when things don’t go well.
“Sports shaped a lot of who I am and what kind of teacher I am, and made me lifelong friendships.”
Hegarty was inducted into the athletics Hall of Fame at Central Catholic in 2008.
“Just to be part of the tradition that is Central Catholic was great,” she said. “I really enjoyed my time there. I think I got a good education, and that and AAU basketball helped open the door to college basketball for me.”
She played the point and shooting guard at St. Michael’s, was a senior captain, and finished with 1,176 points (10th in program history). She is the career leader in 3-pointers (227) and also holds the best free-throw shooting percentage (82.3).
A highlight was a 17-11 record her junior year that included a sweep of perennial power and Northeast-10 rival Bentley.
“We were kind of always the underdog and tried to get wins where we could,” Hegarty said. “We were always scrapping.”
Hegarty isn’t playing much basketball these days but will jump into practice when needed. She enjoys that.
Teaching fourth grade has its perks, too.
“They’re still shorter than me and they laugh at most of my jokes,” she said. “Fourth grade is where it’s at.”
Allen Lessels can be reached at email@example.com.