Coach Leon Modeste stepped down from his position as Head Coach of Andover Boys Varsity Basketball after coaching for 25 years after last Wednesday’s playoff game, the team’s last of the 2011-2012 season.
“It has been a true honor to work alongside Coach Mo for 10 years, and I will certainly miss coaching with him. I have learned so much from him over the years, and he is a terrific coach, teacher, mentor and friend,” said Daniel Schneider, Modeste’s Assistant Coach.
Modeste decided to step down from coaching basketball to focus on Andover Football, a team that went without a win during the 2011 season.
“I had to make a choice, and basketball is in a pretty good place right now; here we are in the playoffs for the second year in a row. Football is really struggling, so that’s where I’m going to focus,” said Modeste.
At the end of the 2012 football season, Modeste will go on a nine-month sabbatical instead of coaching basketball at Andover.
After 25 years of coaching basketball, Modeste reflected on his experience as coach.
He said, “I’ll miss really getting to know those kids. Basketball is a small team, and kids get to know you in good times and bad times.”
Modeste especially emphasized his love for the personal aspects of coaching, namely running practices.
“I love going to practice. There’s something about the rapport of coaches and players, just one team in the gymnasium. It’s big to me,” said Modeste.
Modeste’s players and coworkers attest to his ability to go above and beyond simply coaching.
“He coaches character, teaches discipline and holds his players accountable for their actions and decisions. His players know that his door is always open to them, that they can approach him with whatever is on their mind, whether it is basketball related or not,” said Schneider.
Modeste will be greatly missed by coaches, players and the basketball program as a whole.
“Coach [Modeste] is a special coach, teacher and mentor who connects with students due to his honest and direct personality. He has a great sense of humor. He loves to laugh and to make his team laugh, but he also makes it clear when it’s time to focus and knows how to motivate his players to do so,” said Schneider.
“Basketball will not be the same without Coach Mo. It is difficult to build up the respect and admiration players and other coaches have for Coach Mo. He is an unbelievable motivator and teacher, and his enthusiasm will be missed in practice and games next year,” said Rory Ziomek ’13.
Modeste first came to Andover in 1986, but he had been coaching basketball long before then.
“I graduated in 1977, and started coaching basketball in 1978. I’ve been coaching basketball forever,” said Modeste.
Modeste plans on making the most of his time away.
“I want to learn Spanish; that’s the thing I want to do most. I also hope to do a lot of snowboarding,” laughed Modeste.