Lynn English and Lynn Classical officials and coaches were reportedly not happy when other schools in the Northeastern Conference decided to go forward with their fall sports seasons after the NEC principals had voted 9-3 to move the entire season to “Fall 2” due to the coronavirus.
NEC schools, including first-year entrant Masconomet Regional, are now competing in their fall seasons while the English, Classical, and Winthrop teams are on the sidelines looking in.
The decision to abandon the original vote did not sit well with Lynn officials, especially English Director of Athletics Dick Newton, who authored the original proposal to postpone the fall season. The communities of Lynn and Winthrop are currently in the COVID-19 high-risk “red zone.”
The decision also left Lynn officials scrambling to fill their “Fall 2” schedule. English and Classical will play the majority of their Fall 2 schedule against teams from the Greater Boston League, ironically the league (Medford, Malden, Somerville, and Everett) that the Northeastern Conference sent packing last year after the GBL schools were voted into NEC in 2016.
Now here is the nugget that some are calling the Lynn sports story of the year: English and Classical are laying the groundwork for applying to be a member of the Greater Boston League, perhaps as early as the 2021-22 season.
English AD Dick Newton and Lynn Classical AD Bill Devin have, in fact, begun the process of “exploring” the idea of joining the GBL.
“Billy and I have thought long and hard about what’s the best thing for student-athletes at English and Classical and with the NEC basically leaving us behind after voting to move to Fall 2 and us basically being forced to play our games with the Greater Boston League because they stuck together us as a league – it benefits us tremendously to seek admission to the GBL,” said Newton.
Newton has already heard feedback from GBL officials and “they said that they’ll welcome us with open arms.”
Revere AD Frank Shea supports the Lynn schools’ move to the GBL. “That would a dream addition for us,” said Shea. “That was part of the vision a couple of years ago when we broke away from the Northeastern Conference. If we could get Chelsea (the Red Devils will join the GBL next fall) and the two Lynn schools in, that would really give us a really good urban league.”
Newton said English and Classical have enjoyed their membership in the Northeastern Conference, “but times have changed, demographics have changed. Schools leaves leagues all the time. Lynn English is not the Lynn English of 1980 and anybody who thinks it is hasn’t really been awake.
“Billy [Devin] and I care about our kids,” said Newton. “We want what’s best for them.”
Devin, whose sons have all been standout athletes at Classical, is also “all-in” on the move to the Greater Boston League.
“First and foremost, the Lynn schools’ move to the GBL would give us competitive balance for all our teams, not just a select few – especially our girls programs,” said Devin. “Secondly the GBL is a perfect fit for English and Classical. The schools have similar enrollments. All of the schools have tremendous diversity. The proximity and the location of the schools works for Lynn. The GBL also has great facilities.”
Devin said he is grateful to the GBL for “singlehandedly saving our Fall 2 season. I want to personally commend all of the GBL ADs. If we do have a Fall 2 season, they saved us. Because as you know, the NEC schools flip-flopped on their original agreement to move everything to Fall 2.”
The Greater Boston League ADs will next meet on Nov. 12 and it’s a near certainty that the topic of English and Classical joining the GBL will be brought up informally for discussion.
And that means Dick Newton and Bill Devin are doing their jobs exceptionally well, leading their respective programs with the best interests of their student-athletes in mind at all times.