EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

March 28, 2013

Earthquakes and aftershocks:

Four job openings will shake up region's basketball scene

The entire high school basketball domain in the region watches.

And everyone has their opinions.

But with four of the premier high school heading coaching jobs in the state now open, all in this neck of the woods, tremors will certainly shake through our region’s hardwood over the next few months.

“On the boys side alone, you look at the landscape and St. John’s Prep is clearly one of the top three private school jobs, and North Andover has to be considered top five in the publics, maybe even better,” said Central Catholic coach Rick Nault.

As tough/interesting as it will be to replace Sean Connolly at the Prep and Mike McVeigh at North Andover, the girls side might even be more intriguing.

Both Jim Tildsley at Andover and Kim Penney at Reading High built dynasties.

“Talk about having tough shoes to fill,” said Central’s Sue Downer. “Can you imagine coming into Andover and following Jim Tildsley?”

All four jobs will attract top applicants when opened.

Some hoop experts estimate nearly 50 viable candidates throwing their hats in the ring for each position.

“If I was a young coach, looking for a great place to land for the next 15 or 20 years, both are great spots,” said Nault of the boys openings. “They’ll get some of the top coaches in the state, people who are established, guys who’ve won a lot of games, guys who won championships, to step up and try and land of these two spots.”

At North Andover High, Mike McVeigh oozed class and competitiveness. For 30 straight years, the road to the Cape Ann League championship went through Turkey Town.

McVeigh and his 2013 club kicked down the door to the Merrimack Valley Conference this winter, sharing the large division title with Central Catholic in their first year of competition.

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