By Jean DePlacido Correspondent
The Salem News
---- — BEVERLY — The bragging rights for the 2011-2012 local college sports season officially went to Endicott College last night as winners of the inaugural North Shore Cup.
The North Shore Cup, sponsored by The Salem News, was presented Endicott’s Director of Athletics, Brian Wylie, in between volleyball matches featuring the three institutions of higher learning that vie for the Cup: Gordon College, Salem State University and Endicott.
Endicott won the competition handily with 104 of a possible 129 points (81 percent). Salem State was second with 72 points out of 102 (71 percent), and Gordon third with 56 of of 117 (48 percent).
“We think it’s a great idea and got right on board,” said Wylie, who took over as Endicott’s AD in 2008. “We have three great institutions on the North Shore, and the purpose is to bring greater awareness to the student-athletes and community as a whole. It goes way beyond wins and losses.”
A point system is used to determine the North Shore Cup winner, with one point given for playing a game against one of the other two schools, then two additional points for a tie game and three for earning a win.
Since Endicott and Gordon are both members of the Commonwealth Coast Conference, they are natural rivals. More non-league games with Salem State have been added for both schools since last season.
Salem State Director of Athletics Tim Shea came up with the idea eight years ago of implementing a program to encourage athletic competition between the three schools for both economic and marketing reasons.
“I tried to get it started, but it didn’t go anywhere for a long time. I have to credit both Brian Wylie and (Gordon Director of Athletics) Jonathan Tymann for supporting the idea,” said Shea. “They were both very receptive. It makes sense since we’re in each other’s backyard, and a lot of the athletes know each other.
“The reasons for it are twofold. First, from a marketing standpoint it is a good move. And secondly, it cuts down on costs because it encourages all three of us to play each other as much as possible. It’s a great way to avoid the expense of long bus trips, and fans enjoy the local rivalries.”
The Gulls have taken an early lead in the 2012-2013 competition with 30 out of a possible 36 points, followed by the Fighting Scots of Gordon in second place with 22 out of 36 points, followed by the Salem State Vikings (16 of a possible 30 points).
“I think Tim had an awesome idea,” said Tymann, now in his fourth year as AD. “At Gordon we had talked about doing something like this before I met Tim, so when I heard his idea it was a natural. We were already competing, especially with Endicott because we’re both in the same conference.
“We have three very competitive programs, and the North Shore Cup has a community feel. It’s working out well, and we would absolutely be in favor of adding a community service element in the future.”
After the Cup was presented to Wylie and the Gulls, Tymann told the many fans, who packed ‘The Nest’ at the Post Center that he would welcome them all to Gordon College next year when the Cup was presented to the Fighting Scots.
“The Salem News is proud to be the media sponsor of the North Shore Cup in partnership with these three fine institutions,” said Salem News sports editor Phil Stacey. “We congratulate Endicott College and look forward to many more years of exciting games between Endicott, Gordon and Salem State.”