EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 2, 2013

Rafferty supporters want answers

Why did North Andover fire the popular football coach?


Coach Raff: I'm not coming back

John Rafferty says he is humbled by the Facebook page in his honor as well as the petition drive, not to mention the dozens of letters he has received from his players, former players and parents.

"Humbling is a good word," said Rafferty, who was fired last week after 12 years as head football coach. "I'm overwhelmed. It shows a lot, about what people thought of the program."

But the 59-year-old Rafferty says he wants no part of the petition drive to bring him back as coach.

"I'm not about being involved in controversy ...  none whatsoever," said Rafferty. "I appreciate the support. But I'm done (there). They made their decision."

A week after the decision, Rafferty admits he is still stunned after he was told he wouldn't be returning for a 13th season after going 81-49.

"I feel the same I did a week ago," says Rafferty. "Myself and the staff invested a lot of our lives in that program. I'm glad we did. I have no regrets. None.

"I am sincerely thankful for the tremendous families, kids and townspeople ...  I know this sounds like a cliche, but being head coach in North Andover was a great experience. That will never change."

Asked if he has checked out the Facebook page (Support Coach Rafferty) in his honor, Rafferty started laughing. "I can barely get on (my computer)," he said.

"I wouldn't even know how to get on it, not media savvy, I'm handicapped that way."

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