By Matt Williams
---- — Chances are that if you use Twitter, you know James Coffey by his alter-ego, @BeverlyPanthers.
Now, you might also know him as the Mass. Secondary Schools Athletic Director’s Association’s District A Athletic Director of the Year.
Coffey, in his fifth year as Beverly High AD, earned the honor in a vote from the MIAA/MSSADA’s District A committee, which includes representatives from the Northeastern Conference, Cape Ann League, Dual County League, Merrimack Valley Conference and the Commonwealth Athletic Conference.
Each league nominated an AD from within its own ranks to be chosen for the District A award.
The eight district winners from around the state will also vie for a statewide AD of the Year Award to be decided later this year.
“It’s my fifth year here and I really feel like we have things rolling,” said Coffey, who was humbled to be chosen. “A lot of the credit has to go to our principal, Sean Gallagher. Our success is a by-product of the school culture he’s helped establish.”
Coffey, 30, has helped create immense school spirit in Beverly. He manages the @BeverlyPanthers Twitter account, with over 1,100 followers, and has encouraged many of his coaches to send out scores and positive messages through social media.
On the state level, Coffey, gave an hour-long seminar on social media in school sports to the MSSADA and also gave a presentation on administrative techniques along with secretary Linda Zambouras, whose help he considers invaluable, and athletic trainer Charla Bouranis.
Coffey came to Beverly after working at his alma mater, Winthrop High. He also helped the Panthers navigate around the building of the new high school, helping find venues for games and practices at all levels despite the construction.
“It was tough at the time but we had of help from Salem State, Endicott and (athletic director) Scott Connolly at Salem High let us his gym a ton,” said Coffey.
“Beverly’s a great school with great kids and a lot of tradition, and now with the school done it feels like we’re really settled in. All the coaches I work with have been great.”
An Endicott College graduate, Coffey lives in Beverly with his wife Liz. He’s also a big proponent of the technology that Beverly has within the school, using film study, concussion testing and a variety of other things through computers.
Moving forward, Coffey is looking to keep Beverly’s athletics programs moving forward and would eventually like to get involved in some sport-specific committees on the statewide level.
“I’m one of those people that’s always looking to find something to get better at,” said Coffey. “I really believe in that type of thing.”