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January 04. 2013 10:27PM

Beliveau, Battista join Memorial football staff

Former Souhegan of Amherst head coach Mike Beliveau and former Merrimack High School head coach Joe Battista have both joined the football staff at Manchester Memorial.

Memorial coach Peter Colcord set he met with both coaches on Dec. 26, and each accepted a position on the staff Wednesday.

Battista and Beliveau each resigned from their prior coaching positions following the 2012 season.

"I know they're good coaches," Colcord said. "The more qualified coaches we have, the better off the program is going to be.

"They're both looking long term. They don't want this to be a one-year thing."

Beliveau became Souhegan's head coach in 1995, and guided the Sabers to the playoffs in 15 of the last 16 seasons. Souhegan won state championships in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2010, and had one losing season during Beliveau's 18 years as head coach.

Beliveau, 51, said one of the reasons he decided to step down as head coach was to watch his son Tim play college football at St. Lawrence. Tim, who played at Souhegan, will be a sophomore next year.

"What I said at the time was that I wanted a new challenge," Beliveau said. "I have a short window to see my son play and I couldn't do that if I was a college coach. This will allow me to do that."

Beliveau coached the New Hampshire Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl team in 2000 and 2012. Vermont won the 2000 game 47-40, but New Hampshire prevailed 62-24 last summer.

Battista's five-year tenure as Merrimack's head coach ended last month, when he submitted his letter of resignation. The Tomahawks have a 15-40 record during the last five seasons.

Battista, a 42-year-old Manchester resident, spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Souhegan before he became Merrimack's head coach. He is also a member of the NHIAA football committee.

"Excited to be coaching with Mike again at a Division I school with a strong foundation that Coach Colcord has put in place," Battista said via text message Friday.

Battista's best season at Merrimack came in 2010, when the Tomahawks finished 7-4 and were one victory shy of making the Division II playoffs. Merrimack will compete in Division I next season, when the NHIAA will introduce a three-division format.

Merrimack was 0-11 last season

Memorial's biggest challenge this year may be replacing four of its five starting offensive linemen.

The Crusaders, 4-6 overall last year, will also lose running back Jared Ombati to graduation. Ombati gained 1,185 yards as a senior.

"The line is where we'll need some developing," Colcord said. "Skill-wise, I'm hoping we'll be pretty good. If we do things right, I think we have a good future here."


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