As first reported by the NH Football Report, long time Souhegan head coach Mike Beliveau has resigned. This is a momumental loss for the Sabers football program. You simply don't just replace a coach as good as Mike Beliveau. The guy flat out knows the game, he knows how to win and knows how to motivate his players. Anytime I cover a Souhegan game I look across the sideline at Coach Beliveau and marvel at the passion and enthusiasm with which he coaches. He has a fire that burns in him and a will to win that is easy to see.
Not only that but he also knows how to get them noticed by college coaches. Souhegan doesn't have anywhere near the enrollment numbers as the D-I and D-II schools, but they still managed to send more kids to go on to play college football than any other school in the state over the past 5 years. The Jellison brothers, Jake Kennedy, Sean Cultera, DJ Petropulos, Brendan McKenna, Chris Chininis, Mike Luks, Tim Beliveau, the list goes on and on.
Beliveau won 4 state titles at Souhegan, including 3 in a row (2008, 2009, 2010). It has also been well documented how many current high school head coaches are former assistants of Beliveau's at Souhegan (Kurt Hines at Bedford, Justin Huft at Goffstown, Milt Robinson at Hollis-Brookline and Joe Battista at Merrimack).
Not only that, but Beliveau has built up an extremely strong youth football program in Amherst. Every year they not only compete but win games against towns who are much bigger (like Nashua).
According to the article on NH Football Report, Beliveau is stepping down at Souhegan but not walking away from coaching. He still might coach somewhere else down the road, especially if a college job opens up. There is no question in my mind that he would make a very good college coach. Not only does he have an incredible record as far as winning games and championships go, but he has already coaches dozens of players who went on to play college football.
So where does Souhegan go from here? Well whoever they bring in now has some enormous shoes to fill. Not only that, but they will have to fill those shoes while coaching a team that is graduating 20 seniors (a staggering number for a D-III school). The Sabers are graduating UNH recruit Jake Kennedy and another potential scholarship player in Tyler Ford. Most of the other starters are graduating too, including Brandon Len, Denny Dessurault, Josh Eichel, Luke Perkins, Ryan D'auteuil, Jacques Elias, Cameron Crook and James Ewing. So yeah, the new coach will definitely have their work cut out for them.
Coach Beliveau has done an amazig job during his time at Souhegan. He deserves to take some time off, watch his son Tim play football in college (at St. Lawrence). Then I'm sure before too long that fire will be burning inside of him again and he will be back on a sideline coaching somewhere. Best of luck to him.