North Andover High School announced the hiring of Jessalyn (Jess) Deveny-McNamar as its new varsity girls basketball coach Friday afternoon.
"I'm extremely excited for the opportunity," said Deveny-McNamar, a social worker at the West Middle School in Andover. "Basketball has always been a good part of my life. It really does feel like a dream job."
Originally from Westford, Deveny-McNamar was a standout at Westford Academy and was named the USA Today Massachusetts Player of the Year in 2001. She went on to have a Hall of Fame career at Boston College (Class of 2005).
At the time of her Hall of Fame induction in 2013, Deveny-McNamar was fifth on the all-time scoring list (1,496) and 10th in rebounds (551). As a senior, she was a preseason All-Big East selection and All-America candidate who was averaging 17.1 points and 5.2 rebounds a game before she suffered a season-ending ACL tear.
Still, she was named the Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Performer her junior year as the Eagles won the Big East Tournament for the first time in program history -- which included a win over perennial power UConn. Her teams made the NCAA Division 1 tournament all four years, and went a combined 92-34.
After college Deveny-McNamar played professionally for a year in Iceland and Turkey. She tried out for the WNBA at a free agent camp, but ultimately decided to pursue her Masters in social work at Boston College.
"I've had wonderful opportunities with basketball," said Deveny-McNamar. "I've experienced basketball from a lot of angles, and I've faced a lot of challenges. To be able to share those experiences with the girls, to be able to help them, is something I'm really looking forward to."
This will be Deveny-McNamar's first head coaching position. She is replacing Megan Pinksten, who went 60-46 in five seasons.
Deveny-McNamar was an assistant at Andover High during the 2016-17 season, coached an AAU team in Haverhill and also has experience as a referee at the Division 2 and 3 collegiate level.
She is taking over a Scarlet Knights team that went 11-10 last winter and lost in the Division 1 North first round, but is projected to bring back the talented Emma Liporto (10.1 ppg last year) and sharpshooter Caitlin Panos (6.7 ppg, 26 3s).
"I'm really happy for the opportunity. It's a great group of girls," said Deveny-McNamar. "They've already built such a strong foundation. And the vision that everyone in the committee had matched mine.
"I want to continue to make sure we're a program that grooms great student-athletes."