Beliveau calling it a career

It was the middle of last Friday’s game with Bow and the Souhegan High School baseball team had relaxed somewhat after jumping to an early lead that was now 5-3 at William Dod Field.

Before the start of the bottom of the inning, the players gathered for a bit of a conference with the coaching staff. The huddle was called not by head coach Chris Metz, but rather bench coach and longtime Saber assistant Mike Beliveau.

“I’ve got to pick and choose,” Beliveau said. “I’m not the head coach. I respect all the head coaches we’ve had, coach (Bill) Dod, coach Tom Walker, and now Coach Metz. All great baseball men. They’re great because they do let their assistant coaches collaborate and contribute.

” Just then Coach Metz stepped back, and he knew it was time for Coach B to crank on them a little. And my point was the pitcher isn’t certainly overpowering, why are we swinging at bad pitches? Let’s go.”

And they did, en route to a 7-3 victory over a good Falcons team on a special day for Beliveau, who was honored for his 30 years of service to the school and its vaunted baseball program after the game. Beliveau, best known for his days as the one-time, longtime Sabers head football coach, was the right hand man on the baseball staff to Dod, Walker, and now Chris Mettz. He returned to football a few years ago as his former player Robin Bowkett’s assistant, and went out on top with the 2020 Division II title and stopped coaching that sport. And now, after this season ends, it’s baseball’s turn.

“This is a special school,” Beliveau said. “A lot of people thought we were an experiment, too touchy-feely. What’s kept me around here are these students, the men and women. There are a lot of outstanding kids coming out of this school.”

Beliveau was content to be Dod’s right hand man. They are good friends and they worked together. Dod didn’t want “yes men” on his staff, and Beliveau would always have ideas he may not have always agreed with but found super useful.

“I didn’t want to always hear what I was doing was the right thing,” Dod said. “And he was always thinking of things. … He’s not the type of person that if I didn’t accept his idea he wouldn’t come back. I didn’t have to use his idea or use his strategy, and he would constantly feed me suggestions.

“We were big into practice, setting up a practice so everybody knew what every minute was going to look like. He loved it.”

But the big thing: Dod had a guy on his staff that had he trusted. And that’s why when Chris Metz interviewed for the Saber head job in the fall, he made it clear that if he were hired, he wanted Beliveau on his staff.

“That was the first thing I wanted,” Metz said. “You can see how much the boys love him. I gotta have that on my staff. I called him after I got the job and said, ‘I need you.’ ”

“He just loves kids,” said Dod, who first knew Beliveau when he was a JV coach at Milford and Dod was the AD. “He loves the interaction. He loves bringing kids from the hallway onto the athletic field.”

“I came up here at age 25 a boy from Massachusetts,” Beliveau said. “I’m leaving a better man because, honestly, all the relationships from the head coaches, like Bill Dod, a legend, and the parents who have been wonderfully supportive of me, and most important, the players.”

When he soon leaves the diamond for good, we all lose. But heck, Souhegan, you’ve certainly won already. The best quality of a coach/educator is to make a difference for kids, and you can be assured Mike Beliveau has done just that.

Tom King can be reached at tking@nashuatelegraph.com, or on twitter @Telegraph _TomK.