Belfast Area High School has turned to an alumnus to strengthen its football fortunes.
The hiring of Gregg Bouchard as the Lions’ new varsity football coach was made public Monday evening during a meeting of the RSU 71 board of directors.
Bouchard has been a strength and conditioning coach since 2002, and he recently earned a master’s degree in business administration management from the Harvard University Extension School.
“I just wanted to be closer to family and friends up here,” said Bouchard, who also will be employed at BCOPE, BAHS’ alternative learning center. “I had a long-term plan of going to college in Massachusetts, and I just finished that, so the timing of graduation, the opening of the football position and my desire to be closer to my family all came together at once.”
Bouchard replaces Chris Bartlett, who resigned last spring after 14 seasons as a football coach in Belfast, the past nine as the varsity head coach.
The Lions went 33-48 under Bartlett with trips to the regional semifinals in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014, but Belfast hasn’t qualified for postseason play since then and finished the 2017 campaign with an 0-8 record.
“I’m just excited for the opportunity to give back to the community that’s been very good to me and to create a positive environment where kids will become excited about football again,” Bouchard said.
A 1997 BAHS graduate, Bouchard played running back and linebacker on the Lions’ 1996 Class B state championship football team as well as on the 1995 Belfast team that also reached the state final.
Bouchard went on to play at Bridgewater State University, graduating from the Massachusetts school in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology.
He opened his own business, Bouchard Strength and Health, in 2002, and also served strength and conditioning internships with the athletic departments at the University of Texas and Harvard.
For the past five years, Bouchard also has been a strength preparation coach at Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, where he developed and implemented physical preparation programs to keep athletes on the school’s football, lacrosse, track and wrestling teams healthy and strong during their sports seasons while using his biomechanics background to help rehabilitate injured athletes.
Bouchard said he was urged to seek the Belfast football post by friend and former Lions’ football teammate Roland Littlefield, a longtime coach within the program who will be the team’s defensive coordinator this fall.
Also on the staff in a volunteer capacity will be Bouchard’s father, Donald.
“What better circumstance can a guy have than to coach football with his father?” Bouchard said.
Belfast High Athletic Administrator Terry Kenniston said Bouchard has been active in preparation for the start of preseason practices next Monday.
“He’s spent hours already looking at game films from previous years,” Kenniston said. “He also came in and looked at our (weight room) facility and videoed it, so he could organize as part of his practices some weight-training activities.
“Our kids as time goes on are going to be bigger and faster and stronger because he’s going to build that right in. Then I think certainly he’s going to want those kids to continue that throughout the rest of the year, and with that facility right there there’s no reason they can’t.”
Belfast plays its preseason opener at home against Hermon Aug. 20 and will host Waterville in its 2018 regular-season debut Aug. 31.
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