---- — After challenging the Merrimack Valley Conference boys hoop powers in recent Division 1 North tournaments, Anthony Faradie is ready to join them.
Faradie, 31, was named to replace Matt Curran as the head coach at Methuen High yesterday.
The new coach brings youth and some serious varsity experience, having run the Medford High program in the Greater Boston League the last six years.
“He talked about his team’s style of play, and so much of it is what we’ve been known for,” said Methuen AD Jim Weymouth. “His teams are hard-nosed, known for outhustling teams. In high school basketball, that means a lot. He’s going to bring that brand of basketball back here.”
Faradie, who lives in Chelsea and will continue to teach at Medford High, is originally from Easton. He played at Oliver Ames High and Framingham State.
In 2007 at age 25, he took over a struggling Medford program.
“The year before I took over, they went 1-19,” said Faradie. “They had hit rock-bottom and the only way to go was up.”
After going 2-18 and 3-17 his first two seasons, the Mustangs showed marked improvement.
“We made the state tournament three out of the last four years and won our first tourney game in over a decade,” said Faradie.
He established a youth feeder system in the city, something that won’t be a problem in Methuen where over 900 grade schoolers play in the Methuen Youth program.
The system was one of a handful of reasons that brought Faradie into the Valley.
Currently, the Greater Boston League is in a state of flux, left with only four schools as Cambridge leaves the conference.
“I wasn’t really looking to move from Medford, but being Merrimack Valley jobs, Lowell and Methuen interested me,” said Faradie.
“I come from a place in Medford where facilities are limited. That’s not the case in Methuen. The new Methuen High School is beautiful. The kids are excited to be there. They are taking a big step academically, and the school has made a major commitment with technology there, too.”
Although Methuen was just 4-17 last winter, Faradie inherits arguably the most young talent since the championship teams of the mid-’90s led by Brian Bettano and Rich Barden.
Curran played a half-dozen sophomores regularly, with three — Tim Galloway-Burke (14.7), Cooper Hammel (12.0) and Mark Sicard (10.1) — averaging double figures.
“Short-term, it’s a good, young nucleus to work with,” said Faradie. “I know about Methuen. It’s a proud athletic community. And I expect a lot of support. I think we have the ability to revive the program.”
Faradie understands how important it is to defend his own turf, especially when it comes to the private schools like Central Catholic.
He’s a veteran of those battles in Medford, where Malden Catholic and a handful of others often grab players away.
“You have to be involved in the feeder program,” he said. “The school made such a big step academically to keep kids here. We’ll do things the right way, be a hard working staff, and form relationships with these kids early.”