Bozoian hired to rebuild West football
Tom Bozoian knows how to build football programs. He has already done it, and he is ready to do it again in Manchester.
“I was with Marc Prindiville to help build the Campbell program in Litchfield and I’m leaving Raymond better than when I took it over three years ago,” said Bozoian, who was named head coach at Manchester West this week. Bozoian, a 1984 graduate of Manchester Central and a 30-year city worker who currently serves as traffic operations superintendent, was officially approved by the Manchester Board of School Committee.
Bozoian is familiar with West and its athletes, currently serving as the boys’ junior varsity basketball coach for the past four seasons. As a basketball coach, Bozoian said he’s had the support of athletic coordinator Sarah Dumais and the school administration led by West Principal Richard Dichard.
“All around, it’s a good fit and I know what they expect from their coaches,” said Bozoian, who inherits a West program that was winless last season in Division II.
“At Raymond, we scrimmaged West last season and I saw some good football players for West,” said Bozoian. “The numbers at West are currently low. I believe they’ve had between 30 to 35 players and to me, that’s low for a school with 800 kids. We should be between 60 and 70 and I plan to gradually get to that number. I need to go old school, just like I did in Raymond, and reach out to potential players at Parkside middle school and other youth programs across the city.”
Bozoian said in some ways the challenges ahead for him at West are similar to the ones he faced in Raymond. Three years ago, he inherited a Raymond program with a 30-game losing streak and only 17 players on the roster.
“To turn that program around, I first had to prove to the players there that I could coach football,” said Bozoian. “The first to know whether you can coach the sport are the players. Once I got past that hurdle, word started to spread around the community from one kid to another. Last year, we had 38 players and we had enough to start a JV program. In three years, we won five varsity games and we made enough progress to make that program competitive. Hopefully, the next head coach there can build on it.”
Bozoian previously coached nine seasons at Campbell High. He was Campbell’s offensive coordinator for his last seven seasons under Prindiville, all winning seasons, before he departed for Raymond.
At West, Bozoian plans to use the same blueprint that has brought success to the basketball program under head coach Danny Bryson.
“My job is not just getting kids to play football, but to make sure they remain eligible to play by attending class each day and achieving good grades,” said Bozoian. “When I interviewed for the job, I said I was going to ask someone at school to e-mail me every day about the status of our players. I did it in Raymond and we do it now at West in basketball.”
Bozoian said the daily e-mails serve as a progress report on each of the players. He said working and coaching in the city makes it easier for him to follow his players closely at West.
“Excelling in the classroom and on the court or field go hand-in-hand. In my four years with West basketball working with Dan, close to 95 percent of our athletes attended class and haven’t flunked out. If anyone has followed our teams, we’ve been successful all four years. I figure if daily progress reports work in basketball, they can work in football.”