EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 22, 2013

Moynihan Scholar-Athlete: Knights' Coufos learned lessons of self-reliance

By Michael Muldoon

---- — NORTH ANDOVER — The grind of flourishing in sports and academics was never an issue with Pam Coufos.

“I enjoyed it very much,” said the North Andover soccer, basketball and lacrosse captain. “It becomes your life. I’m so used to it.”

Coming down the homestretch of her high school career, Coufos may have eased up a bit, but not much.

“I try my best in everything,” said Pam, who is ranked 21st in a class of 290, 14 places in front of her twin sister Eleni. “There is a little senior slide now, but my parents won’t put up with anything lower than my best.”

Coufos was highly recruited in soccer and lacrosse before deciding to play soccer at Division 1 Fairfield.

“I just wanted to do what I love best,” she said of the choice.

She’s put together a hall of fame-type career. She’s been a four-year starter in soccer and lacrosse and twice earned Eagle-Tribune All-Star honors in the former. She also was a two-year starter in basketball. The floor general averaged 4.7 points a game last winter and quarterbacked the Knights to their first North finals berth since 1992.

Her position in lacrosse mirrors her demanding daily schedule.

Knights coach Karen Lahey said, “Pam plays center for us and is tireless in her efforts at that position. She’s well suited to play this position because of her speed and stamina. When we’ve substituted at center, many of those players will question how Pam makes the running look so easy.”

Coufos, who made All-Cape Ann League last spring, has 41 goals and a team-high 26 assists as the 15-5 Scarlet Knights head into the postseason.

The Coufos twins have gone against the grain as three-sport athletes while more and more top athletes specialize.

“I personally admire Pam’s work ethic in playing three sports,” said Lahey. “When many student-athletes opt to focus on one sport these days, Pam personifies how the transferable skills from one sport can serve an athlete well in another. She makes my job as her coach very fulfilling. I wish there were more players like her.”

Coufos is ready for the challenge of college. She’ll be splitting up with her twin, who is headed to UMass.

They’ll both take with them the family work ethic. They’ve seen the time their father puts in running his business, Romano’s Pizza in Dracut.

Pam, who passed the AP English exam, has a passion for writing.

“That’s my thing,” she said. “I’ll spend hours on essays.”

A conversation with her grandfather became the topic of her college essay.

She joked to him, “I’m going to marry rich.”

She recalls him suddenly turning serious and stressing, “Any success is of your own doing.”

That’s a lesson she’s obviously taken to heart.

Coaches and athletic directors can send Moynihan Scholar-Athlete nominees to Michael Muldoon at mmuldoon@eagletribune.com.