Kevin Welch, Cheryl Tavares and Ed Harrison, right

Back in 2016 Ed Harrison, right, was featured in the Town Crier when he was retiring as the WHS Athletic Director, and he was joined for a picture with his staff at the time which included Kevin Welch and Cheryl Tavares.     (file photo).

WILMINGTON — He's Baaaack!

On Tuesday afternoon, Wilmington Superintendent of Schools Dr. Glenn Brand announced that Ed Harrison has been named the interim Athletic Director at WHS. He is expected to serve for one year with the intention of a replacement coming in for July 1st, 2020

Harrison served as the WHS AD for 13 years before retiring at the end of the school year in 2016. He was replaced by Tim Alberts, who officially ended his three-year tenure on Tuesday to take the same position at Triton Regional High School.

In a letter sent to parents, Dr. Brand expressed his thoughts on Alberts leaving and Harrison coming back.

Dear Members of the Wilmington Community,

As you may already be aware, Mr. Tim Alberts, Director of Athletics, recently resigned from his position after securing a similar position in another district. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Alberts for his service to the Wilmington community during these past three years of his tenure.

After careful consideration, in terms of where Mr. Albert’s departure leaves the district just prior to the opening of school and being outside the optimal ‘window’ of time in which to conduct a full search for his replacement, I have decided to pursue an interim Director of Athletics to serve in the role for the 2019-20 school year. It is my pleasure to share with you that Mr. Ed Harrison has agreed to serve in this capacity, effective immediately.

Mr. Harrison retired from the district in July 2016, after serving for 13 years in the role of Director in Wilmington. In addition to his experience in leading the department, Mr. Harrison also served as a coach for multiple varsity teams, as well as a classroom teacher for many years.  Based upon his extensive experience and his familiarity with the district, I can’t think of a better person to step into the role it and provide stability and consistency to help serve our district during this time of transition.

It will be my intention to launch a full search in the winter months as we seek to find a long-term replacement for Mr. Alberts. As that time approaches it will be my intention to share with you information about the search, and how members of the community can get involved in the process.”

After the announcement became public, Harrison was reached by phone. He said that he is excited about coming back for the year with hopes of making it a smooth transition for the next person in line for the position.

“I would like to thank Superintendent Brand for the opportunity to return as the interim athletic director,” said Harrison. “When I retired three years ago, I had no idea or intention of returning in this capacity. I look forward to the beginning of the fall season, which is upon us in a few short weeks.

“My goal is to hopefully ensure a smooth transition, not only for the district, but also for the Middlesex League. I hope my experience and knowledge of how things work, not only in the school system but for the Town of Wilmington, will help in moving forward. The parent meeting is Thursday, August 15th at 6 pm, see you there!”

Harrison attended WHS and played football and baseball and graduated in 1969. He then attended UMass-Amherst and graduated with a degree in Physical Education and a minor in Biology.

The following year he returned to WHS where he was an assistant football coach from 1974-1981, before taking over as the head coach from 1982-1993.

In addition, Harrison was also the head softball coach for two years, served as the Freshmen Baseball coach for 11 years and the JV Baseball coach for one season. He left WHS for the 12 years after 1993, and came back as a physical education teacher before being named the fourth AD following Larry Cushing, Jim Martin and Jim Gillis.

Harrison spent 30 total years of service in the WHS system between being a teacher, coach and 13 years as the AD.

During his tenure at WHS, Harrison oversaw over 50 athletic programs for a high school that has just under 1,000 students. He added three varsity sports, four subvarsity programs, and was instrumental in the athletic department leaving the Cape Ann League for the Middlesex League.

He also added a handful of tremendous coaches who at the time revitalized struggling programs, in particular Jodi MacKenzie with field hockey and Jay Keane with girls basketball.

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