---- — NORTH ANDOVER – It's now official that John Rafferty has been reinstated as the North Andover High School football coach.
North Andover High School Principal Carla Scuzzarella announced the decision this morning. The overwhelming support expressed by student-athletes at the School Committee meeting Monday night persuaded her to "re-look at" the firing, she said.
"Over the six years I have been principal, parents at NAHS know that I strive to base my decisions on what I believe is best for my students. Nothing matters to me more than my students," Scuzzarella said in a statement to The Eagle-Tribune.
"The sincere, respectful manner in which my football players – past and present – have communicated with me regarding Coach Rafferty has compelled me to spend additional time reflecting on my decision. Over the past two days, I have had the opportunity to meet again with Coach Rafferty and to also meet with Coach Rafferty and athletics director (John) Longley, to discuss the possibility of the coach's return to the NAHS football program. We all believe that this is what is best for the student-athletes. Everything else is secondary in importance and can be worked out between we three adults.
"John Rafferty will return as the varsity football coach at North Andover High School."Rafferty, who has led the Scarlet Knights football teams for 12 years and was credited with rebuilding the program from disarray, was told by Scuzzarella and Longley a couple of weeks ago that he was not being rehired.
When that decision was made public, a firestorm of protest arose from the community. Signs bearing the inscription "Bring Back Raff" have been placed at many locations throughout the town.