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Rafferty Movement Strengthens, Supporters Headed to School Committee

The group hopes to have its voices heard.

Ten days after North Andover Varsity Football Coach John Rafferty was fired, local support for him is only getting stronger.

Monday night, according to the Support Coach Rafferty Facebook page, supporters plan to attend the School Committee meeting in the North Andover High School library -- which starts at 6 p.m. -- and voice their frustration over the firing to the School Committee during the public comment segment of the meeting.

School officials have not spoken publicly about the firing, but reports (including Rafferty's statements to the media) suggest it was because he disciplined two players for drinking this past fall but did not go through specific protocol.

The Facebook page administrator wrote:

"Whether you are a football player, player parent, or member of the community at large, please come and show your dissatisfaction with this decision. Encourage as many people as you can to attend. The number of supporters in attendence is critical to our efforts. Each and every one of you is needed to be there, tens of people won't speak nearly the same volume as hundreds of people showing their support. We hope that we can count on you , and we hope you will spread the word."

The School Committee does not hire or fire coaches, but supporters of Rafferty want the School Committee to hear their concerns. Supporters have also expressed a desire to see Athletics Director Jon Longley's contract not renewed in June. Longley, along with Principal Carla Scuzzarella, reportedly fired Rafferty, and some Rafferty supporters are suggesting the decision was made so that they could promote a gym teacher recently hired from Beverly -- who worked with both Scuzzarella and Longley -- to the coach position.

Thursday night, Rafferty was a topic on the WCAP show "Frankly, We Missed the Mark," as callers expressed concern over the firing.

And Monday, The Eagle-Tribune published a scathing editorial, virtually suggesting a school administration cover-up regarding the firing and demanding answers.

Check Patch for more updates on this story.

northandovercitizen February 04, 2013 at 06:18 PM
each player signed a contract that stated if they were arrested for any reason they would be kicked off of the team...the issue here is with longley. He is a control freak and would feel more powerful if the coach was someone who worked for the school system(see what happened to the hockey program)
MikeA February 04, 2013 at 09:27 PM
And the coach must have also signed a "contract" to uphold certain rules ...
NA Supporter February 04, 2013 at 10:28 PM
As does the athletic director and the principal and the superintendent, right? MikeA, your trying to come off as objective but your comments are very targeted. Had you really been objective you would have highlighted that all parties in this matter have contracts, not simply the coach.
MikeA February 04, 2013 at 11:29 PM
I agree that the AD and the principal need to act ethically and follow rules etc. I think my comments come off as targeted against the coach because everyone commenting is defending the coach. Since the AD and the principal or their defenders aren't speaking to the newspapers, I can't "target" their comments other than to note that they aren't making any. I would like more details on what happened. If its OK with the coach, I think the AD and principal should comment on the matter publicly.
MikeA February 05, 2013 at 02:18 PM
John - I did listen to some of the comments at the school committee meeting. I heard students mourning the loss of their coach. I'm sorry for your loss.

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