DANVERS — Jameson Pelkey still remembers reaching out to St. John’s Prep Athletic Director Jim O’Leary during his senior year at Endicott College while looking for an internship opportunity.
“I gave Jim a call when I was a senior at Endicott looking for an opportunity and a chance to meet and talk about the program,” Pelkey said. “Sure enough we met and at the end of our conversation I started out interning with them. I never looked back from there.”
Pelkey has since served in many roles at St. John’s since then. Now, 12 years later, he’s set to take over as the school’s new athletic director. The announcement was made by St. John’s Principal and Associate Head of School Keith Crowley Tuesday morning at Mahoney Wellness Center.
“I’m thrilled for the opportunity,” Pelkey said. “Every sport and every team is important and valued here. We’re all about providing a wide range of opportunities for students to engage in athletics and build community around movement.
“In many ways the strength of this program is in its scope,” Pelkey added. “I’m committed to upholding the strong standard of excellence and providing our student athletes with the tools they need to succeed in competition, in the classroom and in life after graduation. I look forward to partnering with our students and their families, our coaches, staff and the entire Prep community.”
While St. John’s looked at many candidates in its search for a new athletic director, Crowley said it was clear Pelkey was the best fit.
“It’s an honor to introduce Jameson as the next director of athletics to begin here on July 1,” Crowley said. “One of the things that we had done in this search is look at many candidates. Starting in September, looking at all the candidates and evaluating their credentials it was very clear that Jameson by far was the person that was going to fulfill this role the best due to knowing him and his work ethic, knowing his commitment to the mission of this school and student development.”
O’Leary, who served as athletic director for two decades, will stay at St. John’s, transitioning to a role as a Special Assistant to the Principal for Athletics which includes remaining as the school’s main representative with the MIAA and continuing to act as a game administrator.
“He came here 12 years ago,” O’Leary said of Pelkey. “I told the principal at the time that we had someone really special here. We needed to keep Jameson on campus. We found a role for him and he got through multiple levels. He has the experience and he’s worked with the coaches. All those little things that need to be done, he has dedicated himself to the student athletes here. He is more than capable.”
Being familiar with the school, Pelkey’s excited to have a reliable group of coaches, trainers and staff that put in the time to make St. John’s athletics a successful community.
“The commitment of the staff and the time we put in on nights and weekends, holidays, vacations, without having all these people around a lot of this wouldn’t be possible,” Pelkey said. “Having over 130 coaches on staff now, over 70 teams, we’re at 22 varsity and scholastic sports, so those numbers alone tell you the sheer volume of what we deal with on a regular basis. Having those people with me involved everyday is a huge help for us.
“It’s been unbelievable,” Pelkey added. “It’s a huge support system throughout. Not only the people I work closely with everyday. It’s the teachers, coaches and staff, student athletes, it really is a community. Kids that we coach and work with on a daily basis they come back. The relationships built with young and older alumni, it’s very welcoming and a great feeling to have. It’s a great feeling to have knowing that they’re going to be supportive in what we’re going to try to accomplish here.”
Pelkey, who lives in Georgetown, is excited for his next chapter with the Eagles. He’s looking forward to helping St. John’s student athletes succeed in both athletics and in the classroom.
“I’m just excited for the opportunity,” Pelkey said. “I’ve been here for over 12 years now and have been heavily involved with athletics since the beginning. It’s exciting to get into this new leadership role and continuing to work with student athletes and coaching staff and having continued success in playing elite competition at the highest level in the state.”