When Jack Hardy left the Greely High School athletic director’s chair to become the assistant principal at Falmouth High School in 2005, he said,

“Athletics has been such a huge part of my life. I hope to one day again coach or return to athletic administration.”

He’s back.

Hardy, 57, is the new athletic director at North Yarmouth Academy, replacing Mike Dutton.

Widely respected and beloved, Hardy is being welcomed back with open arms and is excited to return to athletics.

“I always loved athletics,” said Hardy. “The best part of my AP role was watching athletics. My son, Anthony, just graduated from NYA and had a great experience there. I was always interested in NYA anyway. Having Anthony go through there and getting to know the faculty as I did made me very interested. The position came open and I wanted to get back into it and see some of the men and women I worked with in the past. I’m very, very excited about it.”

Hardy has a long athletic history in the state of Maine. The Livermore Falls native and three-sport (football, Nordic skiing, outdoor track) athlete in high school attended the University of Maine at Presque Isle and later earned his Master’s degree in education at the University of Maine at Orono.

He coached several sports (most notably track) before ascending to the Greely AD position in 1991. Hardy was at Greely for 14 years, a golden age for the school, which won 65 state championships in that span.

Hardy went to Falmouth and thought his career path would eventually lead to a principal’s job, but in the end, athletics drew him back.

“When I first took the role as assistant principal, I thought I’d be in that role five, seven years, then consider taking a principal-ship somewhere,” Hardy said. “I worked with two great principals. Allyn Hutton and Greg Palmer. Two wonderful people, but determined that I wanted to go in another direction. Leaving (Falmouth) has been very difficult. The students, faculty and community know how much I grew to love that school and community. I worked with exceptional students.”

Like Greely and Falmouth, NYA has a storied athletic tradition, which also convinced Hardy to make the jump.

“Even when we competed against NYA, they always did a great job in spite of the low number of students, being competitive,” Hardy said.

Last school year, NYA did not field varsity golf, swimming, baseball or softball teams. Hardy aims to restore those programs immediately.

“When you have 170-200 upper school students and the number of programs we have, you can have trouble filling them,” Hardy said. “The students coming in understand that and are willing to participate in athletics. Part of my role will be, I hope, setting up a program there that uses some of the enthusiasm and relationships I’ve been able to build with students. I’m hoping to be able to continue doing that at North Yarmouth Academy. I’m hoping it will be a full package for the kids. It has the academics and arts as well. We have a lot of bases covered as well in athletics. We don’t have all of them covered. I’d like to think students looking at NYA will look at all the programs. That’s my hope.”

NYA Head of School Brad Choyt said that the school received 85 applications when the position came open, but that Hardy was the clear choice.

“Jack was head and shoulders above the rest,” Choyt said. “We talk at NYA about intellect, character and integrity. It’s our mission to foster all three things at our school. Jack brings all three things to our athletic department and to academics and the arts as well. We’re so lucky to have him.”

Hardy received the Maine Athletic Administrator of the Year award in 2000. In 2003, he received a Distinguished Service Award from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators’ Association.

Hardy said that rejoining some old friends and making new ones is very appealing.

“I had some great mentors,” Hardy said. “I think about Gerry Durgin from Gorham, Ken Roberts at Yarmouth, Keith Weatherbie at Cape. We got to know each other very well and became good friends. I’m very fortunate to have Peter Gerrity assisting me. He does a great job. I’m just throwing questions at him left and right.”

Yarmouth athletic director Susan Robbins is very pleased that Hardy is back in the fold.

“Jack is one of the best professionals that I have had the pleasure to work with,” Robbins said. “He is personable, caring and always makes decisions that are in the best interest of students. Jack’s leadership abilities and input will serve not only NYA but the Western Maine Conference and the (Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators’ Association) as well. Yarmouth and NYA work very closely together on many joint events serving our collective communities. I am extremely happy to be working with him again.”

Hardy and his wife Kathi live in Cumberland.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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New North Yarmouth Academy athletic director Jack Hardy.