THIS + THAT

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Three area prime time programs have new coaches. They hail from completely different backgrounds. They all have goals in mind. Let the countdown begin.

Orion Binney has the least experience and the shortest time to get ready. However, in his case, it probably really doesn’t matter. This job is the ultimate challenge. He is the new Fall Mountain Varsity Football Coach. Short of bringing in former Green Bay Packer coach Mike Sherman, who returned to his roots in Massachusetts the past few years to coach at the high school level, no one might be better prepared than Binney.

Binney does have five years of coaching background and they were all at a high school primary level. Four of those years came at Keene High School in the freshman program, one as the head coach and the other, spending a year building middle school footballers in the Fall Mountain district, not knowing at the time, he might be working on his future.

What is most important is Binney loves Fall Mountain football. And he played it. There were no winning seasons when Binney played, and he made the All-State second team as a senior in 2003. He was in the trenches during both his junior and senior seasons on both sides of the ball and “all I have is great memories of Fall Mountain football,” he exclaims. He played when John Loupa and Kevin Tallman were in charge and took well to their leadership.

Binney moved to Walpole, when he was twelve and football already had its’ claws in him. He had been introduced to the sport in Foxboro, Massachusetts, home of the Patriots and actually went to a number of the big boys practices.

“I believe in hard work and I have already met with the players and let them know that they would be held accountable. You can see from the other sports here, we have athletes, now we have to make more into football players. There has been a good reception so far and we could possibly end up with close to thirty players. I have sent them the message that discipline and conditioning were an important part of the plan and if they buy in, we should be able to build this.”

Binney has been there and done that. Recent Fall Mountain football teams and players have not. They haven’t willed themselves, as a whole, to commit to the sport, but maybe his age and experience as a Wildcat football player, not far removed from their age, can help take him there.

“I want to build this program,” he emphatically tells us. Knowing that Rome was not built in a day, Binney deserves a good chunk of time to make this team competitive. Baby steps should be accepted along the way.

Brian Pickering will be the next one to step into his new pair of shoes. He does a Sherman type move and ends up in his backyard. He has played and already coached at Fall Mountain and has layers of basketball coaching experience. He has had tenures of leading from the sidelines for the Fall Mountain boys, the Monadnock boys and the ConVal girls, as well as serving as a top notch assistant Mens coach at Keene State College during some very successful years. He has more than the experience needed to guide the Fall Mountain Girls program.

Pickering has an advantage over his two other new mentors as he takes over the most successful of the three programs. For some time now, the Lady Wildcats have prowled the top half of the New Hampshire Division III standings. His first edition five, lost quite a bit to graduation and has also seen a top tier player leave for prep school, but Pickering shows his color of experience when assessing the position he steps into.

“We have a lot of good players at every age level throughout the program. They are presently doing what they need to do and that is putting in a lot of time to get better. There will be new faces you will see step in, “the new veteran coach says, and goes on to say, “to me, teaching is teaching and I have always had good response from players, boys and girls, wherever I have been and we’re ready to go.”

Pickering seems to have all the bases covered for the summer. There are enough girls interested to have two teams in the Keene summer league. Pickering coaches both to some degree, but there will be times when assistant coach Michelle O’Brien is in charge, especially when the two teams meet head on. Pickering also has the developmental difference that Fall Mountain has enjoyed for so many years with his uncle, Russ, offering skill sessions every summer, laying a foundation that is unmatched in area circles.

The third coach and team headed in a new direction is the Bellows Falls Girls Basketball team. Todd Wells has been on the scene for years, but he will be calling the shots for the first time. This is Todd’s eighth season in the program. The past seven were at the Junior Varsity level. Todd served for three years as JV coach under Justin Aube. Then although Wells thought he might well be ready for the next step, he was passed over and then spent four more years, as the JV coach under Joe Goodhue. The good soldier is now the Head Coach.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to coach at the next level,” the BFUHS graduate says. Wells goes on to offer, “we have a good athletic young group. It is important that they buy into our program. If they apply themselves, work hard and accept their roles, we will be able to focus on being able to compete and become competitive at the Division II level.

Wells realizes there may be times when winning any particular game during the season is not paramount to getting the program to the level they desire. He offers, “ultimately, it is where we end up at the end of the season, heading into the play-offs that counts. There are challenges, with the school size we are at, to reach our goal, but the biggest challenge is to bring it back to the type of culture that Jayne Barber developed. I am excited as a BF alum, to have this chance to bring back that BF Terrier tradition.”

Three programs. Three new coaches. Distinctly separate obstacles. Get ready. Set. Go!

Best of luck to all!

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