Souhegan taps Bowkett as football coach
Ex-North coach Bertrand takes over Sabers boys lax
The Souhegan High School athletic department settled some family business before heading into the annual winter break.
The school Friday announced the hiring of Robin Bowkett as its new football coach, replacing Mike Lochman, who resigned in December after four seasons on the job. Bowkett, a Souhegan alum, is a former Salvae Regina and St. Anselm College assistant who has spent the last five years as the coach of Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy, a private boarding school just outside
In addition, the Sabers announced that former Nashua North boys lacrosse coach Keith Bertrand is their new head man beginning this spring. He replaces Brad Bishop, who resigned after four seasons to focus on his assistant coaching and admissions duties at Keene State.
And, to complete all the moving parts, Bertrandâs replacement at Nashua North is longtime Nashua Blast coach Rod Redman.
Bowkett, 34, beat out a field of 15 applicants, at least a half dozen who had head coaching experience, according to athletic director Dick Miller. But he was a logical choice as he is familiar with Souhegan having graduated from there in 2001 after playing four years of Saber football, quarterbacking the team his senior year. His wife Beth is also a Souhegan alum.
âThis is somewhat of a dream job for me,â Bowkett said, adding his parents still live in Amherst. âIâm excited to get there and get rolling. Us football alums keep a close eye on that program. â¦ Being the head coach at where I played is going to be great, and it was a chance to come home. I couldnât pass up the opportunity to get back to family.â
Bowkett coached five years at Lake Forest, going 17-28, including 2-7 his final season. He is also currently the assistant dean of admissions at the school, which competed in the Chicago Catholic League, and was also working on his Masters in coaching education at Ohio University.
But the program faced declining numbers and is switching, in what will be its 125th year, to 8-man football next season.
âWe played in a good league, but as you know, football is a numbers game,â Bowkett said, adding he wouldâve taken the Souhegan job even if the move to 8-man wasnât happening. âWe were fortunate, though, to have some really good players.â
Indeed, itâs not as if the program was without talent or notoriety. Lake Forest, while Bowkett was there, had players move on to play at Division I schools such as Penn State, Iowa, and Stanford.
Bowkett plans on being back in the area during Lake Forestâs two-week break next month, and is expecting to meet with the Saber players then.
As for Bertrand, he leaves North after seven seasons, the best being 10-6 in 2014. However, he brought stability to the program, but living in Amherst the last 10 years or so, he said he always had an eye on the Souhegan program. He opted not to apply for the opening a few years ago, but this time he felt it was something he had to do.
âWhen Iâd drive down the streets in Amherst, Iâd see kids with sticks in their hands, or goals in their driveways,â he said. âHands down itâs the toughest decision Iâve ever had to make in my life. Iâm so close to the kids at North, but I felt this was something I had to do.â
Redman, meanwhile, according to Nashua athletic director Lisa Gingras, was set to be a volunteer assistant under Bertrand at North before the move. Heâs had two sons play in the Titans program.
âHeâs coached a lot of the North kids, heâs very, very familiar with a lot of the kids in the program,â Gingras said. âHe has a lot of connections. We felt Rod was the best choice to make this transition.â
âHeâs very, very knowledgeable,â Bertrand said of Redman. âIâm happy he got the job, I canât say enough good things about him. It should be a seamless transition.â