Rob Clauss caught the coaching bug during his six years as an assistant with the Nashua South football program, and he’s never been able to get rid of it.

After coming close to landing a varsity coaching job on several occasions, Clauss now has a program to call his own. Earlier this month, he was hired as ConVal Regional of Peterborough’s varsity head coach.

“Once I got coaching, I loved it,” Clauss said. “I loved every minute of it. I knew I was going to stay with coaching.

“I knew I wanted to be a head coach and when the job opened at ConVal it checked all the boxes, like being under an hour away.”

Clauss, 52, spent the 2017 season as Alvirne’s offensive coordinator, but didn’t coach last season, opting instead to watch his son Jesse play his final year of football at Bentley University.

He takes over a ConVal program that experienced some tough times last season. The school dismissed head coach Ray Puglisi four games into his first season, and Steve Bartsch completed the season as the interim head coach. After winning its opener, ConVal lost its next eight games and finished with a 1-8 record in Division II.

Clauss, a Nashua resident who teaches at Nashua South, is ConVal’s fourth coach since the start of the 2017 season.

“I’m familiar with all of their struggles last year,” he said. “I felt I was someone to help them out, bring some stability and help them play it forward, so to speak. I did my homework and I was a little leery, but the boosters are very active. No one wants to lose on a regular basis. The athletes are there, it’s just getting them turned on to football.”

Clauss said his coaching staff is in place, and the team has set up a scrimmage against Monadnock as well as a three-team scrimmage against Keene and Brattleboro, Vt.

Clauss played high school football at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He also had an injury-shortened career at Gettysburg (Pa.) College.

“I knew this was a program that has been on the cusp in the past,” Clauss said. “We’re gonna get back to that and take it to the next step. I really believe that. We’re gonna help these kids on the field and off the field as well. That’s really what this is all about.”

rbrown@unionleader.com