“We addressed every issue we could,” he said.
Danvers High athletic director John Sullivan, whose school voted against expansion, said there was a tremendous amount of work that went into the proposal.
“We looked at every aspect from top to bottom, how it would be good for certain teams and difficult for others and how to fix those issues,” said Sullivan. “There were a lot of positives — and for some schools in our conference, there were important negatives that had to be taken into consideration. That’s why the vote went down the way it did.”
Now that this issue seems, for all intents and purposes, to be dead, the denied schools are left searching for homes.
Masconomet, having outgrown the Cape Ann League, has had multiple overtures from the Merrimack Valley Conference to join over the years. There’s a chance they could apply again to the NEC on their own, without the GBL teams. There’s also talk that Saugus, a long-time Northeastern Conference member who is now in its first season as a Cape Ann League school, would like to eventually rejoin the NEC.
Coffey admitted that there were some athletic directors and their principals who were “definitely not on the same page”, which may have influenced the voting.
“Our goal was to bring in five schools who would make our conference as a whole stronger and every game competitive in a good way,” said Coffey. “Putting teams together (in certain sports) that were more competitive, that’s what this should have been about.”