One of the biggest sports stories of the year – especially if you’re a Lynn Tech student, alumnus or sports fan – has developed in the last week of the year.
Joe Skeadas, director of athletics at Lynn Tech, has announced that the school’s football program has signed a four-year contract with Austin Prep to play on Thanksgiving eve.
The first game in the series will be played on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015 on Austin Prep’s home field in Reading. Tech will host the 2016 game at Manning Field in Lynn on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.
“We’re very pleased with our new arrangement with Austin Prep,” said Skeadas. “The school has a new athletic director (Jonathan Pollard, a 1997 graduate of Austin Prep), who is a great guy and was very receptive to beginning a sports relationship. We had a great conversation. He spoke to his head coach (Bill Maradei) and I spoke to my head coach (James Runner III) and we’re all set. It should work out just well.”
Tech was without a Thanksgiving opponent after Tech and St. Mary’s officials decided to end the holiday eve series between the two schools. St. Mary’s will begin playing Bishop Fenwick on Thanksgiving Eve in 2015.
Austin Prep is a member of the Catholic Central League, the same league in which St. Mary’s of Lynn competes. The Cougars were 6-5 this year under Maradei, a Hall of Fame coach who formerly coached at Saint Dominic Savio High School in East Boston.
Skeadas said that the two schools will meet in football only although other sports may be considered for non-league games.
“We haven’t played Austin Prep in years and years,” said Skeadas. “It’s a good arrangement for both schools. There are Lynn kids attending Austin Prep and the school isn’t too far away. We maintain our Wednesday night status and we now have someone to play for the next four years. We’re very excited.”
Skeadas’s quick response to the Thanskgiving game vacancy drew commendation from Tech alumni and football players. There was concern that Tech would be the only Lynn team without a holiday opponent, but Skeadas went to work and has answered the call through 2018.
A popular administrator and culinary arts teacher at Tech, Skeadas has been trying hard to bring attention and restore strength to the Tech athletic program. Last year he launched the school’s first-ever “All-Sports Awards Night” and the program was a resounding success. Supt. of Schools Dr. Catherine Latham has attended the awards programs as has School Committee member Rick Starbard and Ward 7 City Councilor Rick Ford, who are both Tech alumni.
Skeadas has also taken an active role in the Tech Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame Banquet, appearing as a presenter for former Tech athlete Sandra Lewis at this year’s banquet that drew 200 guests. This past weekend, Skeadas drew praise for Tech’s role in hosting the Walter Boverini Holiday Basketball Tournament.
And in February, Skeadas and two Tech student-athletes will attend the MIAA’s Annual Women in Sports Day event at Fanueil Hall in Boston. Tech has been a perennial participant in the event under Skeadas’s leadership.