By Matt Williams
---- — When Masconomet Regional High School revised its athletic director position and opened the hiring process, the school was looking for the right candidate to oversee one of the North Shore’s biggest high school sports programs.
They didn’t have to look very far.
John Daileanes, athletic director at Newburyport for the last 14 years, will move down the road in the Cape Ann League and take over as Masco athletic director this summer, the school announced.
“It’s a great opportunity at a great school,” said Daileanes, who is 43. “I’m really excited to get started and get to know the faculty, staff and administration. I want to support the athletes, get to know as many people as possible and do everything I can to keep the programs where they are and make them even better.”
Daileanes takes over for Jared Scarpaci, who has been splitting his time between teaching history and the AD’s position for the past five years. He’ll return to the classroom full-time next year.
“It’s been an awesome experience for me on a lot of levels, but with the evolution of our athletic program it really became clear that we needed a full-time AD,” said Scarpaci. “This will be great for us and I’m happy to be going to back teaching full-time.”
Daileanes will also oversee the health and wellness departments for both the high and middle schools at Masconomet.
“I’m really looking forward to that aspect,” he said. “It’s an important piece of the job.”
Masconomet’s place in the Cape Ann League has been a hot topic the last few years, as bigger schools like North Andover and Wilmington have opted to leave the league. The Chieftains are definitely remaining in the CAL for 2013-14, though the disparity in size between Masco and some of the other schools in the league remains a concern.
Having an athletic director familiar with the situation and the other members of the CAL should certainly help.
“I’ve been in the league for 14 years and I have an understanding of the issues and I think I’ve built up a trust with people,” said Daileanes. “I’m going to do everything in my power to do what’s best for the Masconomet school system and the athletes. I’m a team player, so I’ll look to do what’s good for the league in general as well. We’ll look to work together for the big picture.”
A former basketball and baseball player at Colby College, Daileanes lives in Amesbury with his wife and children. He grew up in Dracut, attended Central Catholic and got his start as a teacher and part-time athletic director at Dracut before going to Newburyport in 1999.
“I have nothing but great things to say about Newburyport. It was an incredible experience. I started there at age 29 and now I’m 43 and my kids know the Newburyport High building as well as anything,” said Daileanes. “I’m happy, I wouldn’t leave Newburyport for just any thing, but when I got deeper into the process, I realized what a great opportunity this was.”
Masconomet, which educates students from Boxford, Topsfield and Middleton, is one of three area schools to offer 24 sports, plus cheering and skiing. The Chieftains have a number of sports playing at three levels (varsity, junior varsity and freshman) and host the co-op for girls hockey that included Newburyport.
“I see that as a draw. It’s something I’m excited about,” Daileanes said of Masco’s variety in athletics.
“The three years I was at Dracut they had an outstanding girls volleyball program, and it’ll be fun to watch that again. There’s a lot of great programs, in addition to the sports I’m used to at Newburyport, and I like that diversity.”
The Chieftains have been very competitive on the state level the last few years. The girls basketball team advanced to the Division 1 North final in 2012, the boys soccer team played in the D1 state final in 2011 and the football team advanced to the D1 playoffs last fall and the D2A Super Bowl in 2009. The baseball team started 23-0 and won a D2 North title in 2010, and that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.
Whether it’s scheduling, equipment, management or even digging into an effort to get artificial turf for Walt Roberts Field, Daileanes is excited to start in his new gig.
“People who know me really well would tell you I’m very organized and I’m detail-oriented,” said Daileanes. “The main thing for me is that we can give more opportunity to more kids to participate.”