NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

June 12, 2013

Director of a new era

McInnis hired to oversee Triton athletics

(Continued)

Farmer’s hope for McInnis is that the athletic director will also play a role in managing a refurbished stadium, once the $2.5 million fundraising effort in complete. Triton’s current stadium was built in the late 1960s and is in need of renovation.

Overall, Triton athletic teams have had marginal success in the Cape Ann League over the last five years. The school’s wrestling and girls track programs have collected state championships during that time period, but other programs, such as girls and boys soccer, field hockey, football and girls basketball have consistently struggled.

Turnover among athletic directors and coaches has been part of the problem. McInnis will be the fifth person to serve as the Triton athletic director in the last eight years. The inconsistency in leadership has also caused some instability in the coaching ranks.

In four seasons from 2009 to 2012, the head football coach changed three times. In 2007, the Triton athletic director at the time, Dave Dempsey, chose not to rehire hockey coach Drew Wile after the coach had a difference of opinion with a parent of a player. For the next three seasons, the Triton hockey program steadily declined, concluding with a 2-17-1 record in 2009-10. After Andersen took over as athletic director, she rehired Wile, and the Vikings have made the state tournament — and won one Cape Ann League championship — in the three years since.

“Stability is the most important thing,” McInnis said. “It’s important not only for the coaches, but the student-athletes. We need to create a community with stability and a tradition of playing for the same coaches at the high school level. I’ve been lucky enough to play for coaches who were there for the long haul. They were vested. That’s what makes for a better experience.”

Participation numbers in some sports, most notably indoor and outdoor track, have declined in recent years at Triton. McInnis said he will try to generate enthusiasm for the high school programs at the elementary and middle school levels.

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