Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


January 30, 2014

'Coach Mo' returning as Phillips athletic director

While Leon Modeste’s nickname — “Coach Mo” — at Phillips Academy probably won’t change, his job title will.

Modeste is poised to become the prep school’s next athletics director and chairman of the Physical Education Department. The appointment will take effect July 1 for a six-year term.

He will be taking over the reins of the athletics department from Mike Kuta, who has served in the position since 2007.

It’s a job Modeste is very familiar with. He was the school’s AD from 1990 to 2000.

Rather than keep one person in the position over the long haul, Phillips rotates the AD post among veteran staffers every few years or so.

“I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to serve a second term as Andover’s director of athletics,” Modeste said. “It is a very exciting time at Andover, and I am delighted to be part of it.”

The appointment, made by Head of School John Palfrey and Dean of Faculty Patrick Farrell, caps off an exciting year for Coach Mo. After returning from a nine-month sabbatical in August, the legendary football coach led the Andover football team to an undefeated season and championship victory.

In addition, he was named the recipient of the Independence Teaching Foundation, in recognition of his work as a teacher and advocate for students and student-athletes alike.

Modeste joined Phillips Academy in 1986 as a physical education instructor. Over the years, he has served as a house counselor, head coach of varsity football and basketball and assistant coach of varsity lacrosse. He also enjoyed great success in his previous tenure as PA’s athletic director from 1990 to 2000, during which he oversaw the expansion and improvement of the school’s athletic facilities and offerings, including the addition of life fitness options.

“I am fortunate that both of my predecessors will be around to help me and that our faculty, staff, students, administration and alumni have all been so supportive,” Modeste said. “The kind words of support I have heard since the announcement have been quite humbling and have warmed this old coach’s heart.”

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