It has been a very, very rough week for the Swampscott football program.
In the span of three days, the coastal Massachusetts town canceled both its freshman and varsity football games in response to an investigation into the actions of its players, then had one of its former longtime football coaches drown in a tragic marine accident.
Bill Ryan, a 54-year-old former Swampscott freshman and assistant varsity football coach, died on Wednesday afternoon when he swam after his boat, “Flying Colors”, which had become loose from its docking point in Swampscott Harbor. Officials told Fox Boston that they believe Ryan died while trying to anchor his boat.
Understandably, the Swampscott community as a whole was shocked at the loss of Ryan, as reflected in the statement that its school district released to the media.
“We are stunned and saddened by the news of Bill Ryan’s death yesterday,” Swampscott Superintendent Pamela Angelakis said in a statement. “Mr. Ryan coached our freshman football team last year and was a part of the Big Blue family for several years as an assistant coach. Our football team and many of our Swampscott Staff are understandably devastated over this tragedy and counselors were put in place early this morning to help with their grief. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
For Swampscott, one thing is now increasingly clear: This week can’t end soon enough.