Leon Modeste, Head Coach of Football and Instructor in Physical Education, known by many as “Coach Mo,” will serve as Athletic Director and Chair of the Physical Education Department for a six-year term starting this July. Modeste will succeed Mike Kuta, current Athletic Director.
Since coming to Andover in 1986, Modeste has served as the Head Coach of the Varsity Basketball and Football teams and the Assistant Coach of Varsity Lacrosse. He previously worked as Athletic Director at St. Anne’s School in Brooklyn and the YMCA in New York City.
This year, Modeste led the Varsity Football team to an undefeated season and a comeback New England Championship victory. As Athletic Director, Modeste will continue coaching football. “I think it’s important for the Athletic Director to be hands-on with kids and get on those bus rides that take all day. But [football is] also one of my passions,” he said.
“The best part of being Athletic Director is the amount of kids you get to interact with. That is amazing. I like to sit there at the window at 3 p.m. and watch all you kids start to come over to the gym and that never gets old,” said Modeste.
One of Modeste’s main priorities as Athletic Director will be working on preliminary plans for renovating and constructing a new athletic facility.
“The Borden Gym has been here forever. We don’t have enough basketball court space [or] squash courts. We need a new pool. We also need dedicated areas so that our wrestling and dance programs can operate at the same time,” said Modeste.
During Modeste’s previous term as Athletic Director, he oversaw renovations to the athletic facilities and expanded Andover’s athletic offerings to include LIFE sports.
“[Modeste] knows the school, and he knows what it means to be an athlete at this school; he knows what it means to be a coach at this school; he knows the ebbs and flows of the school,” said Karen Kennedy, Athletics Scheduling Officer and Instructor in Physical Education.
Rob Needham ’15, Varsity Football Captain for the 2014–2015 Season, said “[Coach Mo] shows up every day for practice with a smile and excitement. He’s always prepared and organized. And I’ve never seen him give anything but constructive criticism if someone messes up, and he gives everyone on the team same amount of respect whether they’re a freshman or a four-year senior.”
A search committee led by Patrick Farrell, Dean of Faculty, interviewed a pool of candidates from across the nation. Other members of the committee included Deborah Chase, Instructor in English, Kate Dolan, Dean of West Quad South Cluster and Instructor in Physical Education, Christopher Gurry, Instructor in History, and Carmen MuñozFernandez, Instructor in Spanish.