Athletic Department

Welcome to the Innovation Academy Athletic Site!

At Innovation Academy, all students are encouraged to participate in our athletics program. Though we offer varsity  sports which require a significant commitment and certain level of skill, junior varsity and freshmen teams are also important features of our athletic program. Our junior varsity teams are made up of athletes of all levels of experience. Junior varsity/freshmen level teams are ideal for athletes who have either not participated in athletics before or are transitioning from a middle school level of competition to a high school level. This level is also a perfect fit for those students who previously played a sport as a child, but for one reason or another have stopped. At IACS, athletics are an important part of our school community. With our program, we strive to build a sense of school spirit, which will only be enhanced by a greater number of athletes. Athletics can be a defining part of a high school experience and are a great way to encourage life-long fitness. Through the different athletic programs that are offered at the high school level, our athletic staff instills the importance of academics, values, discipline, leadership, and teamwork in all student-athletes. The Innovation Academy Athletic Department has worked hard to create an environment in which all students feel a sense of belonging and are at ease stepping out of their comfort zone to try new things.

For the more seasoned athletes who are looking to compete at a higher level, our varsity programs are a good goal to push for. Varsity teams are groups of serious athletes who are intent upon developing their athletic skills. They are also athletes willing to dedicate significant amounts of time to their sport. Competition is an important focus, though not the only one, of varsity athletics. A very high level of academics, values, discipline, leadership, and teamwork is expected of all varsity student-athletes.

We are very excited to welcome back current athletes this season and are also looking forward to meeting the new members of our program. As our program grows, we continually welcome and encourage feedback. Please feel free to email either our Athletic Department at or our Athletic Director, Nolan McKinnon, at In addition, all student-athletes, as well as their families, will receive an anonymous survey at the end of every season. We strive to make our program a positive addition to our athlete’s lives and your feedback is essential to our growth and development. 

Athletic Team Awards

  • The Most Improved Award

    This award is received by the student-athlete who, in the opinion of the coach and other team staff, has shown the greatest amount of improvement on the team. This can be defined as improvement within a single season or from one season to the next. Individuals who receive this award have demonstrated a willingness to learn and grow as an athlete and person. They have exhibited leadership qualities and excellent team spirit. They are student-athletes who always have a positive attitude and excellent attendance at practices and games. This award will be given to student-athletes who have improved as an athlete, a student, and person, or any combination of the three. 

  • The Coaches' Award

    The Coaches’ Award recipients are chosen solely by their coaches. The criteria for this award is highly dependent upon the coaches of a particular team, but usually included in this criteria are dedication, team spirit, leadership, attitude, effort, performance, and attendance. Recipients of this award serve as a blueprint and model to their fellow team members in terms of the expectations of their coaches. 

  • The Sportsmanship Award

    Recipients of this award are student-athletes who have demonstrated the ability to control their emotions and exhibited positive attitudes towards their team, coaches, and opponents, win or lose. These student-athletes are not expected to be void of emotion, but rather to manage and focus the strong emotions that athletics inevitably evoke in a positive way. In addition, these athletes demonstrate values such as fairness, civility, honesty, respect and responsibility.

  • The Hawk Award

    “The Hawk” Award replaced the Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) in the fall of 2012. To many, the MVP award had unfortunately become viewed as simply the individual on the team who has the best athletic skill and ability. However, this is not always the case. A MVP must also demonstrate sportsmanship, leadership, academic dedication, athletic dedication, and be committed to improving every aspect themselves as well as be committed to improving all those around them. The MIAA mission statement is as follows:

    The mission of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association is to serve member schools and the maximum number of their students by providing leadership and support for the conduct of interscholastic athletics which will enrich the educational experiences of all participants. The MIAA will promote activities that provide  lifelong and  life-quality learning experiences to students while enhancing their achievement of educational goals.

    Nowhere in this mission statement is it stated that a school should be actively trying to produce professional level athletes, nor does it even place an emphasis on winning. While, of course both the MIAA and IACS do everything we can to develop and nurture athlete’s skills and abilities, both institutions also truly believe that athletics is an opportunity for all students to further their education. In the correct environment, athletics ultimately will help develop a well-rounded healthy young adult ready for all the world has to offer. This program is committed to athletic excellence but not at the expensive of academic excellence or behavioral excellence. We value all aspects of the student athlete equally, and all of these areas are taken into account when choosing the winner of The Hawk Award, and not just on one’s athletic skills and performance.

Athletic Department Awards

  • The Citizenship Award

    Citizenship is defined as the character of an individual viewed as a member of society. To show good citizenship is to show dedication to one’s duties and obligations as well as to themselves, their team, school, and their greater community. When one demonstrates exemplary citizenship, they are displaying to the outside world how special our school community is. They are acting as an ambassador for Innovation and showing the larger community our values. These values include benevolence, compassion, kindness, commitment, and ambition but not without the consideration of others. A recipient of this award demonstrates determination and devotion to success while at the same time empathy for all both inside and outside of our community.

  • The Scholar Athlete Award

    Innovation Athletics has a strong passion for athletics and we work very hard to bring athletic opportunities to our athletes. While athletics can open many doors for individuals, the pursuit of knowledge is an area that has no limitations and can take one far more places in this world than athletics. It is our hope that all athletes use this athletic program to help develop into well-rounded individuals with both a desire to win and a desire to learn. We understand that juggling athletics and academics is no easy task, and we also know that at times it can seem like an impossible task. Our hope is that students will use the experience of dealing with these competing pressures (academics and athletics) to help prepare them for the hardships that they will certainly face in life. When students are able to achieve in both athletics and academics, they will understand that the type of effort required to excel in the classroom is the same required to excel in competition. The skills needed to balance both school and sports are skills that must be practiced throughout life. This award goes to individuals who demonstrate a beginning mastery of this juggling act. Recipients must have a high level of dedication to their team as well as one of the highest GPAs for the season. Our IACS Scholar Athlete must always demonstrate dedication to both team and school. 

  • The Dedicated Athlete Award

    To succeed in life one must fully dedicate themselves to what they choose to do, regardless of what that might be. When an individual becomes a student-athlete, it is our expectation that they are making a full commitment to their school work as well as to the sport that you have chosen. It is this dedication, that when demonstrated by each and every student-athlete, creates a program of excellence that is admired by all. Without a high level of dedication, no such program will ever develop. The recipients of The Dedicated Athlete Award demonstrate dedication above and beyond that expected of their age. This dedication reaches beyond the seasons in which they participate, and the athlete has made their sport part of their year-round life. They have also demonstrated an understanding that their dedication must expand beyond their sport into other areas, including those that may affect their performance and eligibility.   

  • The Athlete of the Season Award

    All of our other department awards highlight different areas which help to shape a successful student-athlete. It is extremely difficult, especially at a young age, to demonstrate all of these attributes at once. To be considered a “complete athlete” one must be a scholar and a leader, one must possess a determination to be the best at everything they do and have an understanding that they should never view themselves as the best or be completely satisfied with their performances. Instead they should acknowledge that they must continually be improving and striving to reach to the next level of competition, whether that be middle school varsity or college teams. The Athlete of the Season recipients have shown by their athletic accomplishments, as well as their exemplary behavior within our community, that they have the ability to lead by example and serve as role models to their peers.

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