Sabers to be inducted to NHIAA HOF

Longevity, service, outstanding accomplishments. Those are always the main criteria for induction into the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association Hall of Fame, and they fit the local segment of this year’s group perfectly.

The NHIAA announced its induction class for its Nov. 12 ceremony in Concord, and it includes former Souhegan multi-sport standout Courtney Banghart, former longtime Nashua High School South cross country/track coach Art Demers, and current longtime Souhegan track coach John Eastman.

Amherst’s Banghart, of course, has been a huge success in her basketball playing and coaching career, and is currently the head coach at Princeton University.

She was a standout soccer and basketball player at Souhegan, graduating in 1996 when she moved on to a superb career at Dartmouth College. She holds that school’s record for 3-pointers in a game, season and career.

In 2007, she became the head women’s basketball coach at Princeton University and has led the Tigers to eight straight winning seasons, and has a career mark there of 208-87, and named national Coach of the Year in 2015. This month she is an assistant coach on USA Basketball’s Women’s U23 Team that will be playing in a tournament in Japan.

Demers, coached Nashua South to championships in both cross country and spring track before stepping down in 2010.

Demers, who had previously coached Pelham to five boys cross country titles from 1996-2001, led South to the boys Class L cross country title in 2007. It was only the second title in any sport in school history. South shared the 2009 boys spring track title with Manchester Memorial with Demers at the helm.

Eastman, meanwhile, has been a longtime successful track coach, leaving Kearsarge in 1998 and eventually winding up at Souhegan where his boys team won the outdoor title in 2012 and his girls team won the indoor title this past winter and in 2007.

He began his coaching career at Kearsarge and was there for 30 years, and was a pioneer of the girls pole vault event for New Hampshire, coaching it for several years before the state adopted it in the mid 1990s. Many of his former athletes have had success in college. Also, Eastman has served on the NHIAA Track and Field Committee.

Also set to be inducted is highly successful former Manchester West girls soccer coach Jack Amero, Woodsville athletic director Mike Ackerman, former longtime Lebanon field hockey coach Deb Beach, late Kennett longtime baseball coach Robert Burns, and multi-sports official Bert Lawlor of Concord.

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