action:article | category:SPORTS21 | adString:SPORTS21 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » High School Sports

November 23. 2013 9:20PM

For Plymouth's Lenahan, what a way to go out


Plymouth coach Chuck Lenahan celebrate the team's the Div. II Championship win over Portsmouth at Plymouth Saturday. Plymouth won 21-14 in overtime. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

PLYMOUTH - A steady stream of former players and other well-wishers lined up and Chuck Lenahan greeted each of them with a hug and a smile.

After 43 seasons as head coach of the Plymouth Regional football team, his career ended on Saturday. And it ended in fashion befitting the legacy of the Land of Lenahan. Plymouth defeated Portsmouth, 21-14, in overtime to give Lenahan his 20th state championship in his final game.

After completing the storybook ending and greeting a crowd of people wanting to pass on their congratulations, Lenahan couldn't find many words to convey his emotions.

"It's a great place," he said. "I'm going to miss it."

And Plymouth, not just the high school, but the entire region, feels the same.

"We'll miss him. The community of Plymouth will miss him," said Jon Bownes, Lenahan's assistant coach for three decades, who is also stepping down. "It's going to be a big hole there."
Lenahan has always placed the focus on his players and as much as they wanted the state championship for themselves, earning one more trophy for coach Lenahan was important to them.
"To win on this field for him to go out, the 20th state championship, it doesn't get any better than that," said senior quarterback Collin Sullivan, who scored the winning touchdown in overtime. "With so many alumni here, it was nice to be part of that pride and tradition and carry the legacy on. That's what Plymouth is all about, pride and tradition."
You can forgive Portsmouth head coach Brian Pafford for wanting to spoil Lenahan's finale, but there is no doubting the respect.

"I didn't want to add to his storybook ending, that's for sure. I was hoping it would kick off my first season," Pafford said. "He's obviously a great coach. To be around all those years and handle all the other stuff besides football - the football stuff is the easy part. If you can handle being the athletic director and everything else, God bless you."

Lenahan has taught more than football to his players.

"It's amazing the way he teaches you about brotherhood and being a family and that grades come before sports," Sullivan said. "Sportsmanship and everything that goes into being a good human being, he emphasizes that the most."

A native of Mechanic Falls, Maine and Vietnam veteran, Lenahan graduated from Plymouth State and joined the high school staff in 1971. That first year with Lenahan at the helm, Plymouth High football went 0-6-1.

It was all downhill from there. Lenahan's win Saturday gave him 20 state championships and a career record of 356-70-1. He was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame in June and is a two-time National Coach of the Year. He has the most wins in New England high school football history.

Football in Plymouth will have a different feel next year.

"I think the time I'll reflect on it will be somewhere around June when I start thinking about getting the (game) film out and what the game plan is and having the dates ready. I think mostly it will hit me next year when he's not there and I'm not there," Bownes said. "I'm sure someone will come in and do a good job, but there's few Chuck Lenahan's around. Education needs those guys. Old school, but genuine."


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

Keene pumpkin riot probe turns to technology inspired by Boston Marathon bombing

Riverside Speedway in Groveton on auction block Nov. 1

Former Monarch suspended from NHL after domestic violence arrest 58min

UNH research behind NFL crackdown on non-standard facemasks

Kings sign former Monarch to $20M extension

UNH's McDonnell seen as prospect to replace fired Buffalo coach

Republican candidate Scott Brown mobbed at UNH homecoming tailgate

Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls owner NH native Meghan Tarmey to be featured on ABCs Shark Tank

At Dartmouth, sidelines robot could be key to quickly diagnosing football concussions

Portland named best minor league baseball town in nation; Manchester #25

Hampton police: Motorist exposed himself to jogger

More than a decade in the making, motorsports-themed country club to open next September

Hampstead driver closing in on Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship

N.H. husband, wife coordinate, run Army 10-Miler Shadow Run

Seabrook's Charles Rosa steps up fighting game, signs with UFC

Nashua boxing pilot program for Hollis Brookline students this fall

Speedway Motorsports, Inc. driving fan experience initiatives, partners with Sporting Innovations

Undefeated Middleweight Antoine Douglas to take on Tilton's Jose Medina on October 24

UNH's Thompson takes leave of absence

Toronto Maple Leafs James van Riemsdyk still has plenty of room to grow after breakout season

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!