Boys Basketball: Knights’ McVeigh went out on top
You could take the sweetest tomatoes, the freshest herbs and a bounty of flavorful meat and never come up with a great sauce.
Unless, the right person is mixing the ingredients.
That was the situation for Mike McVeigh in his 31st and final season at North Andover High.
He had pieces — a scholarship big man in Isaiah Nelsen, a wild card left-handed complement in unproven but talented senior transfer Chris Bardwell and the yet-to-be-tamed colt on the perimeter Derek Collins.
But what would he make of the Knights in their first year in the Merrimack Valley Conference?
In a word, champions.
McVeigh led North Andover to a 19-5 record, a share of the MVC large division crown and his fourth trip to the North sectional finals.
“Coach found a way to bring this team together,” said Bardwell, who made our Super Team. “He’s got such a calming influence. I know for me, the one thing I definitely learned from him is how to play with poise.”
Nothing came easily for the Knights, right to the end, as McVeigh had to deal with the loss of two regulars in a late season auto accident. Nonetheless, the Knights made their run, pushing eventual Division 2 state champ, Brighton, to the limit in the Division 2 North finals at Tsongas Arena.
McVeigh retires with a career 497-176 record. He has now won our Coach of the Year honor twice, the previous coming in 2007.
Previous Coaches of the Year (Bob and Dick Licare Award)
2012: Rob McLaughlin, Salem; 2011: Paul Neal, Lawrence; 2010: Peter Rosinski, Pinkerton; 2009: Dan Habib, Greater Lawrence; 2008: John McVeigh, Brooks; 2007: Mike McVeigh, North Andover; 2006: Dick Licare, Central; 2005: Leo Parent, Pentucket; 2004: Todd Kress, Pelham; 2003: E.J. Perry, Salem; 2002: Paul Neal, Lawrence
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