Plymouth Regional High has handed its football coaching reins to Chris Sanborn, a former Bobcat linebacker and assistant coach for the last 15 seasons under legendary coach Chuck Lenahan.
"This is the job I wanted and I'm thrilled to be coaching in a community I grew up in and love," said the 39-year-old Sanborn.
The announcement was confimed by Bobcats' principal Bruce Parsons Tuesday.
The good news for Sanborn is, after having served 15 seasons as an assistant coach under Lenahan, he knows the system. And he knows the players.
"When I was 23 years old, coming out of college (Plymouth State where he also played), I thought I knew everything about the game," said Sanborn. "Then I joined Chuck's staff and realized I didn't know half the stuff I thought I did. The biggest thing I learned from Chuck was how thorough and organized he was each week. He was always prepared for each game and that's a major reason why he was so successful over the years."
Sanborn said he had discussions with Lenahan in the past about taking over the program some day. "I know he had thoughts of stepping down one time in the mid-90's before he changed his mind," said Sanborn. "I was always interested in becoming a head coach at Plymouth. The 15 years I spent under Chuck were priceless. I was part of 11 championship seasons and 10 of those years we went undefeated."
Sanborn said if he were an "outsider," he wouldn't have applied for the job. "As an outsider, you don't want to be that guy to take over the program from Chuck," said Sanborn. "For an outsider, it would have been complex."
Sanborn said Lenahan didn't participate in the selection process of naming the next head coach. "He didn't want to be involved in the process, but I know he's happy they decided to stay in-house. I know he kept telling our administrators they'd be crazy not to pick someone in the program."
Sanborn thanked Parsons and Supt. Mark Halloran for their support and backing. "Not just for allowing me to take over this job, but for all the years as an assistant. They've been very supportive of our program for years and all the coaches in it."
Lenahan (356-70-1, 43 seasons) retired at the conclusion of his team's 21-14 Division III overtime championship game win against Portsmouth at George Zoulias Field in Plymouth.
Plymouth, known to many football followers as the "Land of Lenahan," won 20 championships and 11 runner-up titles in 43 seasons. Lenahan stepped down as the all-time winningest coach in New England high school football history. He is a member of the National High School Hall of Fame and was twice named National High School Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2012.
Sanborn resides in Plymouth with his wife Sarah and three boys, Trevan (11), Caden (9) and Cavan (4).