DANVERS — When he began working as intern in the athletic department at St. John’s Prep during his senior year at Endicott College 12 years ago, Jameson Pelkey was so productive that the school created a position for him following his graduation.
On Tuesday morning, Pelkey was officially announced as the next athletic director at Prep. Current AD Jim O’Leary, who has held the position since 1998, will step down effective July 1, but remain on staff as a special assistant to the principal.
O’Leary, 67, was hired was a football assistant under Fred Glatz in 1977. He succeeded Glatz as the varsity coach in 1984, leading Prep to a pair of Division 1 Super Bowl titles and 207 wins over a 20-year career before retiring from coaching in 2013.
Pelkey has also worked his way up through the ranks. The native of Barre, Vt., where he was a three-sport athlete at Spaulding High, became an assistant varsity football coach at Prep in August 2006, and was named assistant athletic director with the Prep’s new middle school athletics department in 2015.
“It was a similar process,” O’Leary said of Pelkey’s journey. “When I came here, I was in the same office and kind of morphed into an assistant AD before people had that. It’s a similar model. Fred [Glatz] mentored me.
“Jameson has been through that process as well, and as the years have gone by his responsibilities have grown and he’s proved more than capable. He’s been through the wars with us.”
Under O’Leary’s watch, Prep has won the Globe’s Nason Division 2 Scholastic award for overall winning percentage among Catholic Conference schools in 17 of the last 18 years. The athletic department offers 22 varsity sports with 70 teams and 140 coaches. Approximately 75 percent of Prep students participate in sports.
According to Prep’s website, the private high school has an enrollment of 1,150 boys.
O’Leary will remain on the MIAA’s Tournament Management Committee, Football Committee, and Skiing Committee, and serves as the school’s main representative with the association.
“There are a lot of challenges with the job, aside from the amount of hours,” said O’Leary. “You’re dealing with student-athletes, parents, media . . . it’s kind of in the spotlight every day. You have to enjoy your work, and you have to be committed.”
For Pelkey, a Georgetown resident with both a bachelor’s in sports management and a master’s in athletic administration from Endicott, the Prep’s supportive community and extensive staff make it a bit easier to take on the job.
“I feel very fortunate to land at this school and have people like [O’Leary, assistant AD Ann Edgerton, and associate Head of School Keith Crowley] in my corner,” said Pelkey.
“Since getting involved here to today, the people you work with every day, and the younger and older alumnus, [I notice] how genuine they are. Whatever their relationship is to the school, it’s a very genuine feeling between those connections. It always goes back to the community.”
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