After Further Review… Jim Kearney One of the Best!

Jim Kearney made a tremendous impact on high school and college football as a referee and a supervisor of officials.

On Monday, Dec. 18 the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston officially acknowledged Kearney’s 47 years of excellence and dedication with the presentation of the John Baronian Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Football to the former East Boston High School football captain  at the chapter’s awards banquet at the Burlington Marriott.

Award recipient James Kearney is pictured with his wife,
Jane, and their daughter, Sarah, after receiving the prestigious lifetime achievement award recognizing his outstanding work as a college football referee and coordinator of officials.

Joined by his wife, Jane, and their daughter, Sarah, for the momentous achievement, Kearney said he was humbled by the recognition of his officiating career and his promoting of the game of football.

“It’s indeed an honor to receive this prestigious award,” Kearney said.

A Leader in the Field

During his distinguished career, Jim Kearney, 69, often traveled throughout New England to give talks to college athletes about officiating. “I basically tell everyone that, “officials aren’t bad guys,” said Kearney in jest.

Kearney has earned the universal respect of his colleagues, who elevated him to numerous leadership positions in the sport. He has served as the president of the Boston chapter of the Eastern Association of Intercollegiate Football Officials (EAIFO), the Association of New England Football Officials (ANEFO), and the Eastern Football League, while also heading the EFL’s on-field officials.

Kearney is the past supervisor of officials for the Boston public schools, holding that post for 27 years. He is currently the supervisor and coordinator of officials for two Division 3 leagues, the Commonwealth Coast Conference and the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Kearney was a high school football official for 47 years and a NCAA college football official for 40 years. He is retired from his position as the dean of students at the Umana Academy in East Boston. He is also past president of the East Boston Chamber of Commerce and the East Boston Athletic Board. He is the chairman of the Fred L. O’Brien Scholarship Committee, helping the Athletic Board raise more than $350,000 for East Boston scholar-athletes.

Football a Positive Influence in his Life

“Football is a very important part of my life,” said Kearney, reflecting on his career as a football player at East Boston High School and UMass Amherst.

“When I was a freshman at East Boston High School, I was kind of going in the wrong direction on the streets of East Boston,” recalled Kearney, who grew up on Princeton Street and was the son of Jim Kearney Sr. and Jean (Malone) Kearney. “At the beginning of my sophomore year, the high school gym teacher told me, ‘You better be at football practice this afternoon or you’re going to flunk gym for the rest of the year.’

“So, I went out for the football team, and lo and behold, I made the team. I became a two-way starter for two years and captain of the team in my senior year (1971). I also became the class president. Football changed my life. It has taught me a lot about life. The attributes that I have received from football are discipline, leadership, loyalty, courage, and character. It has given me the ability never to back down when the going gets rough.”

To this day, Kearney said he keeps in touch with his high school football coach, Carmen J. Scarpa. “I talk to him several times a year, and I consider him a friend,” said Kearney.

Rep. Madaro Offers His Congratulatory Wishes

Rep. Adrian Madaro was among the dignitaries and East Boston residents congratulating Kearney on his prestigious award.

“Jim Kearney leaves an indelible mark on the people he meets,” said Madaro. “His lifetime contributions to the sport of football reflect his tenacious work ethic as well as his commitment to others. I’m pleased to see his legacy celebrated and recognized by the Gridiron Club of Boston, and I congratulate him on his accomplishments.”

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