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Lenahan's legacy draws to close at Plymouth (N.H.)

8/26/2013

Chuck Lenahan's 43rd season as Plymouth (N.H.) Regional High School's head football coach will also be his final season as the Bobcats head coach.

New HampshireLenahan, 70, recently made it known that he will step down as the school's football coach and athletic director after the current school year. He's also in his 43rd year as Plymouth's athletic director.

“This is my last year,” Lenahan said. “I'm going to miss it for sure, but this will allow me to go see a lot of games and do a lot of things I haven't done in a while. I haven't seen UNH play in a long time.

“I made up my mind last year. I talked it over with the administration and they said they wanted some notice. I want to go out by doing a good job.”

Lenahan, 70, has twice been named the national high school football coach of the year. He'll enter the 2013 season with a career record of 345-69-1. He collected victory No. 343 last season, which set the record for career victories by a New England high school football coach.

Plymouth won its 19th state championship under Lenahan last season, when he guided the Bobcats to an undefeated season for the 13th time. Plymouth has strung together 46- and 57-game winning streaks during Lenahan's tenure. The latter streak was the longest in the nation in 2010.

“The one thing that stands out to me about Chuck is his attention to detail and his organizational skills,” longtime Plymouth assistant coach Chris Sanborn said. “There's no limit to the amount of time and effort he'll put in.

“He'll do all of the little things – we all do. But he's definitely a guy who leads by example.”

Lenahan, who is also known for his dry sense of humor, is currently a member of the NHIAA football committee. He said that's a position he may retain.

“I'll have to talk that over with (NHIAA executive director) Pat Corbin,” he said.

Lenahan was one of the committee members who helped realign New Hampshire football in the offseason, when the Granite State went from six divisions to three. Plymouth, which had been competing in Division IV, is now one of 20 teams in Division II.

“It's going to be a challenge, but we're looking forward to it,” Lenahan said. “We'll get to play some new teams like Portsmouth. We'll have three state champions this year. That'll make things a lot tougher.”

Lenahan grew up in Mechanic Falls, Maine, and graduated from Plymouth State University. He was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame in June.

Lenahan's first Plymouth team finished 0-6-1 in 1971, but he guided the Bobcats to a state title in his second season. Sanborn and Jon Bownes, another Plymouth assistant coach, are among the candidates who could replace Lenahan.

“It's a tremendous school and administration,” Lenahan said. “I'll miss the relationships you have with the coaches and administrators. There's a lot of camaraderie there with the people you work with. One thing I've realized is how lucky I am to coach the kids that I have – that's what I'll miss the most.

”We've had a great run here. It's time to let somebody else do it.”

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and publishes the New Hampshire Football Report. Follow him on Twitter: @603SportsMedia.