E.J. Perry is well aware of the legacy of Jim Tildsley, the man who recently retired as Andover High girls basketball coach after 387 wins and — most importantly — four state titles.
“I am in the Andover High gym basically every day and I see those state title banners hanging there,” Perry said. “It’s an inspiration. Jim is probably one of the top girls basketball coaches in state history. Like the commercial said, ‘Often imitated, never duplicated.’ That success is something we want to imitate.”
Now, after admiring Tildsley’s success from the stands, Perry will take on the daunting task of replacing the legend.
This week, the Golden Warriors announced that Perry has been hired as head girls basketball coach. He replaces Tildsley, who built a dynasty with the four titles and a 387-60 record in 18 years at Andover before retiring at the end of last season.
“I’m thrilled,” Perry said. “This is really a tremendous opportunity. I love basketball, but it had to be the right fit with football. I love the challenge, and I couldn’t be taking over for a better person than Coach Tildsley.”
Taking on the challenge now makes Perry the busiest man in sports, since he adds the basketball job to his duties as Andover High head football and boys volleyball coach.
“Coaching is in my blood,” Perry said. “My father, my grandfather and all of my brothers. I sat down with my family and asked if I am ready for that transition. With the new playoff system in football, there would only be a week of overlap if we made the Super Bowl.
“I want to win Super Bowls, and I believe in delegating to my assistant coaches. I will be reaching out to Jim’s assistants (Leo Lafond and Kerri O’Dea). I love coaching and I love Andover. I am always raring to go”