One of the deans of the state’s schoolboy soccer coaching ranks has found himself on the disabled list this season.
Steve LaPierre, who coached his first varsity game at Van Buren High School in 1979, is sitting out the 2011 season after undergoing back surgery several weeks ago.
“Naturally when you’ve been at it this long you miss it, but it’s coming along,” said LaPierre. “I’ve been to see them play, I’m getting around, but I just wouldn’t be able to give it all I could this year. If you can’t teach or show the kids what they need to do, you’d be doing them a disservice.”
LaPierre has guided Van Buren to four Class D state soccer championships — 1994, 1996, 2004 and 2006 — and eight Eastern Maine titles during his 32-year-coaching tenure.
LaPierre, who works as executive director of the Van Buren Housing Authority and also is the boys varsity basketball coach at the high school, plans to return to the sidelines come basketball season and then return to the soccer sidelines for his 33rd season next fall, good health permitting.
“I’m stubborn,” he said.
Coaching the boys soccer team at Van Buren this season is one of LaPierre’s former players, Steve Gagnon, who most recently coached at the middle school level.
The Crusaders, 1-2 at the start of play this week, are scheduled to return to action at 5 p.m. Wednesday with a home match against 2-0-1 Washburn.