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December 12, 2012

Salem News 2012 Fall Coaches of the Year

BOYS SOCCER COACH OF THE YEAR

KEVIN LEAHY

Beverly

It was the type of turnaround season that Leahy had been hoping for. Once a Division 1 North finalist, Beverly made six straight postseason appearances from 2001-06 before returning to the state tournament as competitive contenders this fall.

This year’s Panthers adopted a ‘rise again’ motto and put together its first winning record in six seasons. With the help of assistant coach Doug Vigliotta, Leahy reminded the Panthers of the success the program once enjoyed and, without dwelling too much in the past, guided them to an 11-4-3 regular season record.

“It was about changing the fortunes of the program,” Leahy said. “We went from a 2-win team last season to a tourney team this season.”

A teacher at Beverly High School, Leahy has three children with his wife Bernadette. His oldest son Conor, a BHS soccer captain and the team’s leading scorer, was named the Northeastern Conference Large Player of the Year, while Leahy was honored as Coach of the Year.

GIRLS SOCCER COACH OF THE YEAR

KRISTIN SIMPSON

Beverly

Sometimes it takes an excellent striker and a great coach to have a memorable season in soccer. Simpson would know, since she’s now been on both sides of the equation.

As a coach, Simpson led the Panthers to their first-ever Division 1 North title this fall. It was the program’s best season since 1997, when they fell in the North final with Simpson as a player and the well-respected Dick Maitland as coach.

The fall of 2012 was one that Simpson will never forget. She gave birth to her son, Jordan, during the season and also helped junior striker Caitlin Harty crack the 100-point mark, breaking Simpson’s school scoring record in the process.

“There were so many great memories. This was a great group of girls that worked hard for each other and sacrificed themselves for the team. They made my job easy,” said Simpson, 30, who works for an engineering consulting company.

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