On Campus

Thayer to gain Foresteire

By Andrew Kellogg-Peeler
Staff Writer

After over three decades of involvement with the school, Athletic Director Rick Foresteire ’86 will take a job closer to home as athletic director of Thayer Academy, whose burgeoning athletic program he will begin overseeing this July.

Mr. Foresteire will continue directing the school’s athletic programs for another four months, but the hunt for his successor has already begun. Faculty recruiting firm Carney Sandoe & Associates has been hired by the Head’s Office to publicize the search and find candidates, Head of School Rebecca Upham said, with details about the official selection process to be determined once the search launches. The additional resources required by the search have meant that a cyclical departmental review, this year targeting the athletic department and originally slated to begin this January, must be pushed back indefinitely.

Mr. Foresteire entered the school as a freshman in 1981, when he played on the varsity baseball team and on the thirds football and hockey teams. By his sophomore year, he had earned varsity positions on all three teams, and after repeating junior year, he captained all three teams as a senior. He was hired as a camp counselor at the school in the summer of 1990, and by 1994 he had become the head coach of varsity football. By then, Mr. Foresteire said, he knew he wanted to pursue a lifelong career in athletics.

“It just clicked. I liked to coach the kids, and even though I wasn’t much older than they were, they were respectful and receptive,” he said. “They made me feel good about [coaching], like it was something that I was good at.”

In 2000, Mr. Foresteire was promoted to Associate Athletic Director, a post he held until assuming his current post 12 years ago. Mr. Foresteire said he had not considered leaving the school until Thayer’s current Athletic Director, Matt McGuirk, contacted him about the position. That prompted what Mr. Foresteire described as a “perfect storm” of personal and professional considerations affecting his decision.

Just 30 minutes from Mr. Foresteire’s home in Plymouth, Thayer’s location in Braintree will be much more geographically manageable than BB&N, which typically requires an hour-and-a-half commute each way for Mr. Foresteire. The move will also allow his children, soon-to-be high school students Grace, 14, and James, 13, to benefit from a private school education without the prospect of such long car rides.

Mr. Foresteire said that Thayer interested him professionally because the school has begun plans to modernize its facilities with a new ice rink and fields but also needs leadership to revive some struggling programs, like Varsity Football and Varsity Girls Hockey. Mr. Foresteire said he is “excited for the challenge.”

Head Girls Varsity Hockey Coach Edward Bourget ’96 expressed confidence that Mr. Foresteire will improve Thayer’s athletic program.

“I know that five years from now, Thayer Academy will be a powerhouse in the Independent School League [ISL], and Rick will have been the catalyst for that change,” he said.

“I wish him the best of luck,” he added, “but he is still going to have to get used to having his girls hockey team losing to us on a regular basis.”

Mr. Foresteire said he has enjoyed every challenge he has faced at the school. One primary focus of his tenure, he said, has been making sports games “popular events” by being more “innovative” when organizing tournaments and choosing venues. He cited as examples “ramping up” Homecoming by bringing in food trucks, activities, and portable stands, as well as the creative choice of venues for Frozen Fenway and the recent basketball tournament at the TD Garden, home of the Boston Celtics.

Mr. Foresteire served as Head Boys Varsity Hockey Coach from 1999 to 2001 and as Head Varsity Football Coach from 1994 to 2002. During his second year in the latter role, the team finished with a 5–2 record, securing the most wins by the school’s football team in over a decade.

Mr. Foresteire took the position of Varsity Baseball Head Coach in 1997, and, beginning that year, has led his team to 18 consecutive winning seasons and five ISL championships, with the team going undefeated once, in 2010.

Associate Director of Athletics Terrence Butt ’91, who played as a senior under Mr. Foresteire on Boys Varsity Hockey and Varsity Baseball, said his coaching “transformed baseball not only at BB&N but throughout the ISL.”

Mr. Foresteire brought a college-level intensity to prep school baseball, Coach Butt added, in the process, readying players for the next level. Mr. Foresteire’s practice of taking his team to Florida over Spring Break has become a tradition the entire league now practices.

Coach Bourget—whom Mr. Foresteire once coached on Varsity Football, Varsity Hockey, and Varsity Baseball—agreed that Mr. Foresteire changed ISL standards by making the school’s athletics far more competitive.

“Rick has completely changed the landscape of BB&N athletics,” he said. “Each team expects to make the playoffs every season. That expectation was non-existent before Ricky took over as athletic director. His legacy will live on forever.”

Coach Butt said the high standard Mr. Foresteire sets when coaching translates to his style as athletic director.

“He puts faith in his coaches to lead and has high expectations about how the teams are run—the development of players, relations with parents, and opportunities for kids to play at a higher level,” Coach Butt said.

Mr. Foresteire’s departure does conflict with the cyclical review meant this year to focus on the athletic department. Each year, Ms. Upham said, the Head’s Office brings in outside experts to study a department within the school in order to uncover any problems with the policies and procedures of that department. After hearing of Mr. Foresteire’s departure, Ms. Upham decided to redirect that energy toward a nationwide search for the school’s new athletic director, explaining that it would be “ineffective to have a review with one leader leaving and another coming in.”

Ms. Upham said she expects the search for Mr. Foresteire’s successor will nonetheless indirectly begin the process of evaluating the athletic department, an endeavor she said will continue later this year. The exact timing of the review will be decided based on input from the next athletic director.

“Through the search, we will probably get to some—although not all—of the issues we would have identified in the review,” she said. “When we select a new director, we will look at what we learned from the search and what we need to find out.”

Mr. Foresteire said leaving the school after so many years feels “strange” but “right.”

“I’ll always be indebted to BB&N for everything,” he said. “It allowed me to fulfill my dream to be a coach, and I couldn’t be more thankful.  I’ll always be a knight.”

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