By Rich Griffin
Former Chelsea High football coach James Atkins will be named the new football coach at Medford High School later this week, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Atkins will be introduced at a press conference in Mayor Michael McGlynn’s office later this week. Atkins, according to the source, was one of more than a dozen candidates who interviewed for the position. Atkins couldn’t be reached for comment.
Atkins’ contract wasn’t renewed by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thomas Kingston in late March despite the Red Devils posting a 22-11 record during Atkins’ three years at the helm. Atkins threatened legal action against the school department as a result. Atkins is replacing Mike DeFelice, a Winthrop native who is currently the coach of the Bay State Warriors women’s professional football team. The Mustangs went 1-9 in 2006.
Atkins was wildly popular with his Chelsea High players. A sergeant on the Chelsea Police Department’s Gang Unit, Atkins brought a no-nonsense approach to a program that had been disbanded because of low player turnout and turned it into an instant contender. Approximately fifty of his players went to a recent Chelsea School Committee meeting and petitioned it to reinstate Atkins; Kingston, in a statement the next day, said he stood by his original decision.
In related news, Mike Stellato was introduced as the new Chelsea High football coach on Monday afternoon. Chelsea High Athletic Director Frank DePatto introduced Stellato to the football team in a meeting after school on Monday. Stellato coached at Danvers High School last season and led St. Mary’s of Lynn to a Super Bowl championship in 2005.