I recall writing a letter of reference for Raff when he applied for the position at North Andover High. I received a call from an administrator involved in hiring. As a preamble to the questions that followed, this individual offered a vague reference to the previous coach and the difficult circumstances that a new coach would encounter. His subsequent questions focused on character, leadership and the ability to be a good role model. I had absolutely no reservations attesting to Raff’s qualifications in this regard. I can’t conceive of a set of circumstances that would keep him from rising above the fray of anything he might be presented with.
On a gut level, I feel those involved in the whole process should go on bended knees and beg Raff to stay as head coach. However, I gather from stories in the Tribune that he is understandably fed up with the way that people who should know better have conducted themselves through the entire process. Typical of the John Rafferty I know, he is conducting himself with dignity and not taking advantage of the overwhelming support he is receiving to take some parting shots at the people and the process that in my mind borders on the absurd. Raff remains a class act even as he is escorted to the exit.
John Rafferty is not “walking through that door anymore,” and it’s the young people of North Andover who are suffering the consequence of a decision made by their elders that defies understanding.