Softball coach hired
Robert Gillespie has been hired to coach the reborn softball program at Northern Essex Community College, which last had a team 17 years ago.
Gillespie, 51, grew up in Reading, attended Austin Prep and graduated from North Adams State College with a degree in history. Although he would have loved to have gone directly into teaching after college, the economy drove him to the insurance and mortgage business instead.
Eventually, Gillespie got back to teaching and began coaching in New Jersey, for 25 years in baseball, soccer, basketball and mainly softball. He has coached softball for 20 years and was nominated for Coach of the Year honors in 2007 and 2012.
He has since relocated to the area and was anxious to resume his coaching career, just when NECC athletic director Sue MacAvoy began her search for a coach. He will begin recruiting prospective players immediately.
Pena’s coach retiring
Northeastern baseball coach Neil McPhee, who coached Haverhill’s Carlos Pena, is retiring after the 2014 season, which will be his 29th. He will be replaced by current NU assistant Mike Glavine. The former Billerica High and Northeastern standout spent 10 years in professional baseball and is the younger brother of future Hall of Famer Tom.
UMass Lowell ranked No. 1
UMass Lowell was selected as the nation’s No. 1 team in the USA Today preseason poll. Miami University was second, Boston College fourth, Quinnipiac 11th, UNH 13th and Providence 15th. For the first time in recent memory, Boston University wasn’t ranked in the preseason.
Schneider looking sharp
Former Phillips Academy standout Cory Schneider has had a tremendous preseason with the New Jersey Devils. Schneider, who was traded from the Vancouver Canucks, had two shutouts in his first three preseason games and allowed just one goal in 70 shots.
It appears he’ll be taking more playing time than expected from veteran 41-year-old goalie Marty Brodeur.