Michael Lombard (Pelham, NH) is one of the best 2-sport athletes to come out of New Hampshire in recent years. Lombard is a dominant force in both football and basketball and got recruited for both sports by colleges. Lombard recently made the decision to commit to Saint Anselm College where he will play football.
Lombard attended Pelham High for his first three years before transferring to Proctor Academy (a prep school in Andover, NH) where he repeated his junior year. Lombard has been a standout player in both football and basketball at both Pelham and Proctor. In football he is a fierce, hard-hitting linebacker on offense who can also block and catch passes on offense.
St. A's is a Division II school in Goffstown, NH that competes in the Northeast-10 Conference. Keep reading for an exclusive interview with Mike Lombard.
Jeremy Leveille: Talk about your recruitment in football and basketball, and what led you to choose St. A's.
Mike Lombard: My recruitment over the last few years has been sporadic, to say the least. When I ran with the Granite State Jayhawks, I wasn’t really hearing from many schools and after completing three full seasons in Pelham, I wasn’t hearing from any football programs. Proctor gave me the exposure and connections possible to find myself a home, both athletically and academically. Saint Anselm College is the best fit for me because its very similar to my prep school life and has the right amount of structure in order for me to become the most successful student and individual that I can be. I felt very comfortable with Coach Murphy and Coach Eggerling. They showed a lot of patience with me and the blend of academics and athletics is something I simply couldn’t pass on. Many schools were interested in me for both sports individually and two were looking for me to play both football and basketball. Ultimately, I felt that I would be better off playing one sport.
JL: Obviously Pelham is very close to St. A's in Manchester. How much did staying close to home influence your decision?
ML: Attending college close to home was one of the most important things to me. My parents and I have a very strong relationship and they’ve been to every single one of my games since I began playing sports. Our relationship made me cross out any schools that were geographically out of the New England region and helped me settle in and stay close to home.
JL: What do you see your role being on the team there?
ML: Going in to Saint Anselm, they were originally interested in me at the defensive end position but after playing pick up basketball during the over night visit, they asked me if I could catch - I told them I could. I ran routes and surprisingly caught a lot of balls, prompting them to consider me more as a tight end. After my second meeting with them, they told me that my role for them would be playing the TE spot. That was huge for me, because I grew up a tight end but the teams I had played for ran low on numbers and I was forced to play other positions to help the team. My role may change from year to year, so I’m willing to do whatever they ask of me to help the team become successful.
JL: If you play linebacker at St. A's you'll be playing for former Bishop Guertin head coach Tony Johnson (one of the winningest high school coaches in NH in the past decade). What are your thoughts on playing for Coach Johnson? How much of a role did he play in your recruitment?
ML: I have heard what coach Johnson has done - he is an outstanding football coach. But unfortunately, we didn’t really speak over the recruiting period. I was more involved with the defensive coordinator and the recruiter of my area, coach Rob Eggerling. He was a guy I started making connections with when he was my 7 on 7 coach at the Boston College football camp.
JL: Talk about your decision to leave Pelham High for Proctor Academy and how that helped with your recruitment.
ML: Bypassing my senior year at Pelham was both the hardest and the best decision I have chosen thus far. Growing up, developing and playing with the friends I had always known was so tough to leave but to be honest my academics were sufering. I was complacent with getting by and that really hurt me. After having a long discussion with my parents, we decided that we would explore the option of boarding school. Everything at Proctor just felt right to me. I went in with a new attitude and both of my roommates pushed me academically to limits originally I didn’t think I was capable of. My head coaches, Ben Rulli and Gregor Makechnie used their connections to get my name out there and helped me make a highlight tape for myself. After that, I started getting phone calls on a regular basis and things just took off from there.
JL: Talk about the differences between high school and prep school football in NH.
ML: The prep school competition was extremely different than what I had experienced in New Hampshire high school sports. In no way am I shortchanging the competition in New Hampshire, but it seemed the prep level was at a different speed altogether. It was a tough thing to get acclimated to right away. The kids were bigger, faster andstronger. Once I got the hang of competing, prep school helped me develop a everyday-routine which is essential in transitioning to become a successful college student. I’d wake up, go to class, either practice or have a game for my sport then I’d have mandatory study hall from 8 to 10 every night. Going through multiple changes while being away from home was a tough adjustment at first, but Proctor is very good at making you feel like you’re at home and that was what I really felt made it easier for me.
JL: What coaches / programs do you credit your success on the field to?
ML: I credit every coach I’ve ever had. They’ve given me all the essential tools necessary to become successful. Specifically, I’d like to thank my Pelham High football coach, Tom Babaian. He pushed me to limits I never thought were possible. He taught me how to be a leader. He taught me to persevere through adversity and keep myself mentally strong at the same time. I know I wouldn’t be the same person I am today if it wasn’t for the lessons that he passed on to me in my three years at Pelham. They were invaluable to my development as a person and player. I couldn’t be more thankful for what he did for me.
JL: What do you plan on studying at St. A's?
ML: Ideally, I’d like to study either business or communications but I know most college Freshman change their minds about what they’re studying all the time so I’m keeping an open mind as to what I’m going to do.
Congratulations to Mike, and best of luck at St. A's!