Tildsley also earns major kudos for surviving as long as he did in a town that eats, sleeps and drinks youth and high school sports. Playing time is a tough issue in every town, but it is very tough in Andover.
“One thing I committed to early on in Andover was telling girls their roles at the beginning of the season,” said Tildsley. “I remember when I played in college and didn’t get off the bench much my first two years. I wasn’t a pleasant kid on the bench. And that’s wrong.
“I would say to the girls on the bench, ‘You’re the No. 9 or No. 10 or No. 11 player. You’re not going to play much. If you can’t accept that, I understand. If you accept that, great. We need people on the bench cheering people on,’” said Tildsley. “It’s never been a problem.”
Tildsley said he hasn’t made any plans for next winter, his first in retirement, other than the fact that he’ll watch his “kids” play in college.
With his son and daughter long gone from their college days, the “kids” Tildsley is referring to are some of his most recent former players at Andover High, including Boudreau (BC), Natalie Gomez (Marist, basketball), Ally Fazio (UConn, lacrosse) and soon-to-be grads, Jackie Alois (Brown, soccer) and Devon Caveney (Williams, basketball).
“I am already looking forward to going to games and rooting them on,” said Tildsley. “I had a great career and so many memories at Andover (High), and not all of them are about winning. The girls made my job a lot of fun. We had a lot of laughs. I thank them for that.”
Head coaching jobs: Wimington High boys (1979-1985), Wilmington High girls (1991-94), Andover High girls (1995-2013)