June 13, 2022

2022 Athletics Hall of Honor inductees selected

A doctor, a CEO, an Air Force pilot, and a retired coach earn the honor

Phillips Academy is pleased to welcome four athletes into the Andover Athletics Hall of Honor. These alumni are being honored for their accomplishments in varied sports as well as for the exceptional ways in which each has lived the values of Phillips and Abbot academies. The induction ceremony took place during Reunion Weekend 2022. Fellow alumni, classmates, and teammates celebrated this impressive cohort on Saturday, June 11, 2022.

Taek-Geun Kwon ’92, Eliza Deery ’79, Coach Leon Modeste, and Rush Taylor ’96

Eliza A. Deery ’79

A three-sport athlete, Eliza Deery earned captain status her senior year in all of them—field hockey, Nordic skiing, and lacrosse—and was unanimously voted Female Athlete of the Year. In addition to her athleticism, Deery was also a sportswriter for The Phillipian.

Teammates described Deery as a very dedicated, consistent, and dominating athlete who got her job done and inspired the team. Under her leadership, the field hockey team cruised to a 5–1–2 season finish. Deery also stood out in cross-country skiing and, at the pinnacle of her skiing career, competed in Junior Nationals at Squaw Valley in California. She was awarded Athlete
of the Term in winter 1979 for her impressive cross-country skiing record: throughout the season, Deery finished in the top third of all competitors and placed second at Interschols, second at the Vermont Junior Nordic Championship, and fifth at the New England Junior Nordic Championship. Deery’s leadership in lacrosse led the team to a 6–4 record. She tallied numerous assists and ranked second in scoring. Deery earned the Fuller Prize, Press Club Award, and Schubert Key award her senior year.

At Dartmouth, Deery played lacrosse, was 2nd All-Ivy freshman year, and captained the ski team her senior year. In 1980, she earned the Pam Merrill Award as the most outstanding cross-country and alpine first-year woman. The following year, Deery received the Class of 1978 Inspirational Award, given annually to an upper-class woman who, in the estimation of her teammates, has shown unselfish dedication to her team and promoted team spirit and sportsmanship. Deery was inducted into Dartmouth’s Wearers of the Green as a 1982 All-American in skiing.

Deery continued at Dartmouth Medical School and today specializes in critical care medicine and pulmonary medicine in New Hampshire. Dr. Deery was on the frontline fighting for COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure throughout the pandemic.

Taek-Geun Kwon ’92

Born in South Korea, Taek-Geun Kwon spent most of his childhood living on the Canary Islands of Spain before coming to Andover in 1988.

As a ninth-grader, Kwon made the varsity wrestling team, earned letters all four years, and placed at Interschols his lower, upper, and senior years. Kwon became co-captain alongside Larry Shin ’92 during his upper and senior years. During his upper year, Andover wrestling took fifth place out of 16 highly competitive teams. During his senior year, Kwon—along with co-captain Shin—led the team to an overall 7–4 record. Kwon was undefeated until separating his shoulder in the last match of the regular season, but he went on to place third at Interschols and qualified for the National Prep Wrestling Championships, where he pinned his first opponent before defaulting out due to injury.

Kwon was also a valued member of the varsity golf team his upper year. “The Sultans of Swing” finished 1991 with a team record of 8–4. Kwon became known as Taek Kwon “Do” after shooting an impressive 37 against Middlesex.

After Andover, Kwon wrestled at Cornell University, where he was a member of a top-10 nationally ranked team that won the Ivy League and EIWA Conference championships.

Kwon is the founder and CEO of Zinnia Health, a leading behavioral and mental health company. Prior to founding Zinnia, Kwon was a managing director and operating partner of private equity firm TPG Capital, where he received the firm’s Global Leadership Award. Kwon was also an early executive of Hotwire.com, an online travel company acquired by InteractiveCorp/Expedia, where he received the Chairman’s Award.

Kwon recently made a generous gift to Andover to name the wrestling lobby in the new Pan Athletic Center in memory of his good friend and wrestling co-captain Larry Shin, who passed away in 2021.

Rush H. Taylor ’96

Rush Taylor is Andover’s only two-sport All-American in swimming and water polo—and perhaps the only two-sport All-American in the school’s history.

In boys’ varsity water polo, he was the first ninth-grade starter in the school’s history. During his upper year, Taylor led Andover to defeat Exeter in the NEPSAC semifinals and was later named New England Water Polo MVP. Taylor served as water polo captain as a senior, scoring a still-standing season record of 95 goals. He was named Andover’s first—and still only—All-American in water polo.

Also a varsity swimmer, Taylor was the New England champion in the 100-meter breaststroke and runner-up in the 50 freestyle in 1995 and 1996. He was named an All-American in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1995 and held multiple school records, one of which stood for 22 years.

At George Washington University, Taylor started on the water polo team all four years; the team was ranked 12th in the nation. Serving as captain his senior year, Taylor led the team in goals and steals and was named team MVP. He also played on the All-East water polo team for three consecutive years.

After college he played in both the U.S. Premier League and the National League in Australia. As a swimmer at GWU, Taylor was a 10-time Atlantic 10 Conference champion, held the A-10 record in three events, and qualified for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials in the breaststroke.

In 2004, Taylor joined the U.S. Air Force and commissioned as a second lieutenant. He has led more than 40 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, flying more than 250 hours in combat, including multiple critical air drops of supplies to forward operating bases.

Currently, Taylor lives in Hawaii with his wife and two children and serves in Hawaii’s Air National Guard flying the C-17.

Coach Leon A. Modeste III

Leon Modeste, better known to many as “Coach Mo,” joined Andover's Department of Athletics in fall 1986 thanks to a phone call from close friend Lou Bernieri. Both attended Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, New York, where they were loyal teammates on the gridiron. After Poly, they kept in touch. When a football coaching position opened at Andover, Bernieri, then—and still—a PA English instructor, urged his friend to apply.

Modeste was appointed head coach of varsity football and varsity basketball in 1987. His approach to coaching was through positive reinforcement along with disciplined training, collaboration, and respect. He encouraged student-athletes to make decisions for themselves. “The kids own the game plan,” Modeste once said in an Andover magazine interview.

In 1990, Modeste was named director of athletics, a position he held from 1990 to 2000 and again from 2014 to 2019. In addition to two stints leading the department, Modeste coached football for 32 years and basketball for 25. Additionally, he served as assistant coach of boys’ lacrosse. He taught physical education and served as a house counselor during his 33-year tenure. Modeste’s Andover-Exeter football stats are 20–10–2, and his team won four New England championships.

More than statistics, Modeste cared about students and about improving Andover’s athletic offerings. He took great pride in his department’s accomplishments during his time at Andover. He expanded the training and support staff, and vastly improved the equity of girls’ sports. He worked toward getting athletics the recognition it deserved as part of the total Andover educational experience and championed the development of fitness-oriented and outdoor activities as well as recreational programs. Modeste also provided important input on the planning of the Snyder Center, which opened in 2018. He retired in June 2019.

Modeste currently lives in Taos, New Mexico, with his wife, Jo-Ann.

Categories: Alumni, Athletics

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