HEAD COACH Jason Pavey looks on as Nicole Catino looks to make a play against Ipswich during the girl’s basketball team’s second scrimmage of the season. (Keith Curtis Photo)

Published in the December 8, 2017 edition.


WAKEFIELD — Announcements of new head coaches are usually a good opportunity to introduce someone to the community. Jason Pavey doesn’t need that exactly.

A WHS alum and current 7th grade social studies teacher at the Galvin Middle School, Pavey has been coaching basketball at the high school for nine years; three as the girls’ JV coach and six as the varsity assistant under head coach Meghan O’Connell. So when O’Connell, the D2 North MBCA Coach of the Year, moved on to become an assistant coach at MIT, Pavey became Wakefield Athletic Director Brendan Kent’s top choice, and not just because of his Wakefield ties.

“He’s incredibly dedicated to Wakefield and our Wakefield teams,” said Kent. “When it comes to his work ethic, he is going to be one of those coaches who goes above and beyond.”

Although the jump from assistant to head coach provides its own set of new challenges, Pavey has plenty of experience facilitated by increased responsibilities from coach O’Connell.

“Meg gave me a lot of freedom to come up with practice plans or run scouting reports so it’s definitely a learning curve but I feel like she prepared me for this role as best she could,” said Pavey.

Helping with his transition to the lead chair will be his assistant coach Beth Simpson, the daughter of WMHS boys’ basketball coach Brad Simpson. Pavey played for coach Simpson at Wakefield High, helping the Warriors win the Division 2 North Championship in 1996. Pavey went on to become Beth Simpson’s assistant coach when she was the head coach at Burlington High School in the mid-2000’s.

One more positive factor for Pavey is the current roster, which returns seven players from last year’s 17-5 team who were league champions for the first time since 1999.

At the team’s second preseason scrimmage against Ipswich, the Warriors proved that they will once again be a force in the Middlesex League. A senior-laden lineup including Hannah Dziadyk, Olivia Dziadyk, Hailey Lovell, Allee Purcell, Nicole Catino and Ally Coggswell will play a fast, aggressive and unselfish style of basketball. It’s a style and system that is largely the same as last year’s, which will only benefit those seniors.

“Having all these kids back this year is a huge difference,” said Pavey. “We have a system that Meg brought in and the kids are comfortable with so it’s just a matter of fine tuning it a little.”

His years of teaching at the Galvin have created a unique opportunity for Pavey to have a familiarity and connection with his players. It’s a dynamic that Brad Simpson went through when he was teaching at the Galvin (also in the social studies department) and coaching at the high school.

“It’s a huge advantage to get to know the kids as students first and athletes second,” said Simpson. “Jason fits that bill to the T.”

“I’ve always liked coaching at the high school because you get to see that progression from middle school,” said Pavey. “To have that connection with them is something I’ve always been excited about, no matter what my position was on the staff.”

Even with responsibilities that stretch into Reading as he is the JV baseball coach at Reading High, Pavey always finds time to support Wakefield’s student-athletes.

“Over the summer, head coaches make sure kids are working on their game, whether that means getting them into summer leagues or opening up the gym when they want to get some extra work in. Very few of our assistant coaches do that. Jason does that just because he cares.”

Even with a new title and in the dead of summer, long after the basketball season is over, expect to see coach Pavey with the keys to the field house for years to come.