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March 04. 2013 9:26PM

Former Nashua North coordinator Laurendi to coach Merrimack football

After spending five seasons as the offensive coordinator at Nashua North, Dante Laurendi decided that he'd like to run his own program again. He'll get that chance this fall, when he'll enter his first season as Merrimack High School's football coach.

Laurendi, who spent three years as Manchester Memorial's head coach, interviewed for the Merrimack job in late February and said he was offered the job last weekend.

"Initially I was interested, but I didn't jump at it," Laurendi said. "I talked it over with my family and started to get the itch to be a head coach again. It's also an opportunity for a new challenge. I know it's a really good sports town."

Laurendi, 40, replaces Joe Battista, whose five-year tenure as Merrimack's head coach ended when he resigned earlier this year. The Tomahawks are 15-40 during the last five seasons, and have made one playoff appearance since they lost to Manchester Central in the 1995 Division I championship game.

Merrimack, which was 0-11 last year, will move from Division II to Division I next season, when the NHIAA will introduce a three-division format. The Tomahawks will be in a conference that includes Pinkerton Academy, Goffstown, Londonderry and Salem.

"Now that Division I and II are combined, anywhere you go it's going to be tough," Laurendi said. "I know there are good athletes here because they're good in the other sports."

Laurendi lives in Nashua and teaches at Nashua North. He attended Nazareth High in Brooklyn, and graduated from Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, Conn.) in 1996.

He was an assistant coach at Manchester Central before being named Memorial's head coach in 2005. After spending three seasons at Memorial, he joined Jason Robie's staff at Nashua North and helped the Titans reach the Division I championship game in 2009 and 2010.


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