Arthur Iworsley

Andover High School

Art Iworsley’s smile was simply infectious. It didn’t matter if you wore the Blue and Gold of Andover High, the school he proudly coached at for more than 40 years, or the colors of a rival. It didn’t matter if you were a superstar athlete wearing gold medals, or an uncoordinated youngster who joined the track team in hopes of making a few friends. It didn’t matter if you were a former student he had known for decades, or a clueless reporter just trying to understand the sport the veteran coach knew like few others. Iworsley’s warmth was contagious, his optimism irrepressible and his kind words undeniably genuine. “Art was so caring, patient and understanding,” said Andover head track coach Peter Comeau of his longtime mentor and close friend. “He just possessed this incredibly calming presence. I relied on him for everything. It didn’t matter who you were. If he knew you, he cared about you. He was a truly special person.” Iworsley, who touched countless lives in his 46 years as assistant and head track coach and assistant volleyball coach at Andover High, passed away unexpectedly of natural causes on Dec. 31 at 70-years-old. “Art was one of the kindest and most welcoming people I ever met,” said North Andover track coach Steve Nugent. “He truly put every kid’s needs before his own, even if they weren’t from Andover. This is a devastating loss for Andover and anyone who knew Art. He was a true gentleman.” A native of Lawrence, and graduate of Lawrence High and Doane College (Crete, Neb.), Iworsley moved to Andover in 1970 and quickly became a beloved figure in the community. For 41 years, he taught physical education at West Elementary School in Andover. He retired in 2011, but continued to work at the school as a substitute teacher. But he is best remembered by many for his work as a coach at Andover High. Last spring, he said he had coached over 100 seasons for the Golden Warriors, including as an assistant to longtime Andover volleyball coach George Sullivan. Iworsley’s greatest passion in athletics, however, was track and field. He began coaching at Andover High in 1970 and was named to the Mass. State Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2003. He was the Andover indoor track head coach for girls (1985-2003) and boys (1988-2003) for a while, but Iworsley spent the majority of his career as an assistant coach for indoor and outdoor track under legendary Dick Collins and more recently with current head coach Comeau. He remained an active member of the staff into this winter season. A fellow member of the MSTCA Hall of Fame, Comeau said he learned much of his track knowledge from his time with Iworsley. In fact, the two were discussing the 2016-17 track team at length the night before Iworsley’s passing. “I learned so much about what I do as a coach from Art,” said Comeau. “I learned while I was competing for him, I learned as an assistant under him and I learned when he was my assistant. He taught me a lot about the rules of the sport. He knew the rules inside and out and felt it was very important. He taught me to be a student of the intellectual part of the sport. “Art was also the voice of reason for me and a very calming presence. Back in my younger days, things got me fired up really easily. He was always by my side calming me down and telling me to think about it and talk it out.” Iworsley’s specialty was coaching jumps, specifically long jump and triple jump. And when he coached, he made each and every athlete feel like a valuable member of the team. “Art was the absolute epitome of coaching every kid on the team like he or she was the best,” said former Andover High track athlete Katie (Sullivan) Andrade. “For me, that will always be the biggest takeaway. I wasn’t a very good track athlete. I only ran track back then to get ready for soccer. But Art would always take the time, even if you weren’t a great athlete.” In recent years, Andrade became a rival as the head girls track coach at Central Catholic since 2008. But coaching for opposing teams never changed the relationship between her and Iworsley. “After every meet, he would come over, give me a big hug and say, ‘Still friends?’” said Andrade. “I would always say, ‘Of course!’ Even if you were mad about a loss, you couldn’t be angry around Art. “He was always ‘Coach I’ to me. Never Art. You never felt like you were coaching against him. Even during (Andover vs. Central) dual meets, he would make suggestions and always help me out coaching. You were friends collaborating.” And helping out opponents wasn’t limited to just his former athletes, according to longtime Haverhill High coach Mike Magurie. “The last few years, Art would arrive at our track the day before our (Ottaviani Haverhill Invitational) and paint our jumping boards,” said Maguire. “He’d have all the equipment and paint. He was always eager to do whatever he could to help not only his own athletes but also athletes and coaches across the state.” But no one was closer to his heart than his family — including wife Katherine, children Eric and Joy and grandchildren Ryan and John — and of course his beloved Golden Warriors, seemingly selling tickets or working security at every Andover sporting event with a smile on his face. And Comeau said the program has enormous shoes to fill. “He was a great coach, but it was more than just coaching events,” said Comeau. “He was my secretary, he kept track of the spikes and the stop watches. He would stand at the jumping pits until the events were over, then come to the finish line and take splits for every runner. “He was an amazing man, he was so gracious and never complained. I feel very grateful that I could learn from him.”

  Inducted: 2003

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