DURHAM — It was a week of role reversal for Travis Cote and Jimmy Lauzon, the head coach for the East in Saturday night’s CHaD East-West All-Star Game at the University of New Hampshire.
Lauzon played two seasons of high school football for Cote when Cote was the head coach at Manchester West, and then spent three years as an assistant under Cote on the Manchester West staff. When Lauzon accepted the job as the East’s head coach, Cote was one of the first people he asked to be on his staff. Cote has worked primarily with the East’s offensive line this week.
“Right when I got the job, right when they said I could pick the staff, I called him and said ‘How about coaching with me for a week?’” Lauzon said. “He gave me a shot and it’s kind of come full circle.”
When Cote became Bishop Guertin’s head coach, Lauzon replaced him as the head coach at Manchester West. Cote hasn’t coached NHIAA football since he departed BG in 2014, so will coaching in the CHaD Game give him the itch to return the sideline.
“I don’t think so at the moment just because his kids are getting to that age where he really just wants to enjoy watching them play,” Lauzon said. “He’s a great dad … a great family man. When you’re coaching football it’s tough to balance those two things, but I’ve learned a lot from him. He was definitely a big influence on me.”
One of the highlights at Friday’s CHaD banquet was a video of Ohio State coach Ryan Day speaking to the East and West players. Day grew up in Manchester, and played quarterback at Manchester Central and UNH.
“Being on that field is a responsibility,” Day said in the video. “We call it relentless effort at Ohio State, which is playing four to six, A to B. That means four-to-six seconds is the length of a play. A to B is from Point A to Point B. So you want to go as hard as you can from Point A to Point B for those four to six seconds of that play. You have that responsibility because you’re not only playing for the state of New Hampshire, but for those children who don’t have a chance to play.
“We’re all lucky enough to learn from this game. We learn about things like loyalty, sacrifice, perseverance, dedication, and it’s all through football we learn these life lessons.”
Eric Brown, the head coach at Concord HIgh School, guided the West to a 24-20 victory in last year’s game, and returned as the West’s head coach this year. His assistant coaches both years have been mostly guys who are on his Concord staff.
Jared Chandler, who played at Manchester Central, was the only non-Concord coach on last year’s staff. Chander and Robin Bowkett, the head coach at Souhegan, are the only non-Concord coaches on the West staff this year.
“That’s one of the things I talked to Nick (Nick Vailas, the game’s founder) about when he originally asked me to do this,” Brown explained. “I said ‘Nick, do I have my pick of coaches? Because I don’t want to come in and first have to coach up all the coaches.’ In our system that would be so slow.
“It’s really beneficial to have guys on (the Concord) staff coaching in this game, and guys like Jared and Robin were both able to pick things up real quick.”