We are very fortunate to have had a great man lead our basketball program at NAHS for the last 31-years.  Coach Mike McVeigh announced his retirement with his family nearby after he led the Knights to the North Sectional Final on Saturday 3/9/13.  Coach McVeigh retired with 497 wins and touched the lives of thousands of people within the North Andover community.  For all the basketball knowledge that he has passed on during his time as head basketball coach, he will be remembered as an even better person.  Watching him share his final moments as head coach with his wonderful family brought tears to my eyes.  My middle son, Jake is now 5-years old.  I have had a great time watching NAHS basketball with him the last couple of years.  As a father it was awesome to see the pride in Coach McVeigh’s eyes as he looked over to his great family.

I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Coach McVeigh as I started my basketball-coaching career as a naïve, wide-eyed 28-year old at Greater Lawrence Tech.  Coach McVeigh was one of the few coaches that took the time to come over and say hello and strike up a conversation at our annual Christmas Tournament Luncheon.  He made it a point to come over and say congratulations after a strong effort by our team (win or lose) when North Andover was playing next.  As I transitioned to Assistant Principal at NAHS I have had a close look at how our student athletes learn life and basketball from their basketball coach.  His basketball players are not always perfect and guess what none of us are.  They do work to be respectful and to become better people everyday.  The bond within the basketball program is very strong.  I believe it is strong because of the values and the character of the coach.  I look forward to sitting with him on the second Saturday in March with my son nearby watching hoops and sharing stories.  It will be fun to pickup some life lessons.

During his retirement speech Coach McVeigh mentioned two very important qualities that he instills in all of his teams.  They are accountability and work ethic.  These are two qualities that we should all work to demonstrate.

Speaking of accountability……A few additional thoughts:

We have become aware of more alcohol related incidents over the past couple of weeks with our students.  Including a serious car accident where we were fortunate to not lose anyone.  The choices students make during unstructured time continues to be a concern in our community and probably every community in the commonwealth.  My children are 8, 6 and 2.  I hope we are teaching them the right values.  I hope the Thomson schoolteachers and their friends’ parents share those same values.  I hope they are prepared to live their lives and make the correct decisions when they become teenagers (since I can’t keep freeze them in time).

As parents, we need to hold our children accountable and provide a drug and alcohol free environment for them.

We should not allow our kids to drink in our homes or to ignore what a group of teenagers may be doing in certain area of a home.

We should not get in a car with anyone who has been drinking.

In an accident or situation where there is a concern for anyone’s safety we should always make sure everyone is safe first and call for help if help is needed.

A car can be fixed, cuts can heal but a life cannot be replaced.

On a positive note, we had a very successful junior prom on Saturday night where the students were transported on buses to the Granite Rose.  It was nice to see the students dressed up and enjoying themselves dancing.