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Jim Fenerty 1760

Tenure: 30 years

Positions Held at GA:

  • Middle School History Teacher
  • Middle School Advisor
  • Middle School Boys Lacrosse Coach
  • Upper School History Teacher
  • Director of Athletics
  • Varsity Boys Basketball Head Coach
  • Upper School Advisor
  • Upper School Junior Varsity Softball Coach

Honors Conferred:

  • Class of 1760
  • Distinguished Teaching Award (2x)
  • GA Athletic Hall of Fame
  • Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame
  • Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame
  • Coach of the Year for every newspaper in the area
  • Winningest Boys Basketball Coach in the History of the Philadelphia Inter-Academic League
  • GA Graduation Day Speaker-2012

Why Jim Stayed:

I did not want to pursue my passion for teaching and coaching at any other place. GA allowed me to be myself and encouraged me to be the very best that I could be in the classroom and on the court.

Lasting Memories:

  • Giving Jimmy and Erin their diplomas upon their graduation from GA
  • Watching so many of our alums pursue their basketball careers in college and the pros
  • Sharing in the post-GA success stories of so many of our GA students
  • Coaching in games against some of the most elite basketball players like Lebron James, Kobi Bryant, Kevin Durant, and many others
  • Teaching Civil Liberties with my great friend, Peter McVeigh

Jim is thankful for:

  • Having had the opportunity to work with and for such fine gentleman such as Jim Connor and Rich Schellhas and such an incredibly talented and caring group of teachers and staff
  • The world-class education that was afforded to my children

Gifts to the Community:

  • An ideal balance of respect for the intellect and appreciation of the physical
  • A master teacher who insists that students in his classes learn to listen carefully, formulate opinions judiciously, and argue civilly.
  • A coach who keeps winning and losing in perspective: winning is better!
  • A humble man, a simple man who puts family first and deflects the many compliments that come his way. “The players made the old guy look good.”
  • A tireless advocate for Coaches vs. Cancer and architect of the Make a Wish Tournament at GA
  • The Athletic Hall of Fame Created in 1995, to honor more than 100 alumni student-athletes, coaches and special friends of the athletic program
  • The Senior Signing Program, an opportunity for GA to honor student-athletes who pursue their sport in college and to thank their families for the support that made their GA success possible.
  • A cohort of hundreds of former players who are devoted to Coach Fenerty and GA
  • The epitome of grit in the face of adversity
  • A true friend ~ a red, black, and blue friend

What Rich Schellhas Will Remember Most about Jim:

Sitting in the bleachers behind the team, I loved the bird’s eye view watching Jim provide wisdom and exhortation, and seeing him occasionally look at me and shrug, as if it were up to the non-sectarian gods in terms of what might happen next – there’s only so much one man can do! Well, this man certainly overachieved for his thirty years at the Academy. My favorite game would have to be the one at home against Haverford that I think went to five overtimes. I worried that both Jim and I were going to pass out right there on the court.

But my ultimate favorite Fenerty moments remain off the court. While I didn’t overlap with his son Jimmy ’09, I did overlap with Erin ’12, and in one of my first meetings with Jim he came to my office in the old Upper School student center distinctly wearing his ‘worried dad’ hat. The legendary coach is human indeed, and it was instantly apparent to me that he would give up every victory if it meant helping Erin become the magnificent student she became. The other indelible moments revolve around every time I was fortunate enough to witness the magical banter between Jim and Peter C. McVeigh 1760 in Jim’s Civil Liberties class (in which Peter was a permanent guest). If only these had been recorded to be replayed again and again on a daily loop to remind us of what genuine friendship and true civility look and sound like.

Memorable Quotes:

“Play the game with a smile in your heart”

“Never underestimate the power of one individual to make a positive difference in this world”

“The players made the old guy look good.

Anything that Peter McVeigh said!

Next Page of Life:

  • Volunteering with the Make a Wish Foundation and the Coaches vs. Cancer program
  • Spoiling our grandchild
  • Watching my son Jimmy pursue his passion for coaching basketball at the collegiate level
  • Giving back for all of the kindness and good fortune that I have received during my life

What Jim Will Miss Most:

  • I will miss the joy of walking the hallways of GA on a daily basis with some of the finest people that I know
  • The thrill of experiencing students achieve more than they thought was possible
  • My colleagues.


to share a memory with Jim


to make a gift to the Annual Fund in honor of Jim