TA Hoops Coach Smith Steps Down
Thetford vs. Williamstown boys basketball state championship in Barre, Vt., on March 9, 2013. Williamstown won, 63-39. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
Thetford — Justin Smith has resigned after four seasons as Thetford Academy’s boys basketball coach.
The 32-year-old said he stepped down because of increasing family responsibilities and a heavy workload in his job running a local bread distributorship. Smith recently moved from Bradford, Vt., to Quechee, and he and his wife have two young sons.
“Personally and financially, I need to focus on my family,’’ said Smith, a 1999 Oxbow High graduate who served six years as a basketball assistant with the Olympians before shifting to Thetford.
“I’ve had some of the best kids and parents a coach could ask for at Thetford and that makes this twice as hard. But life’s just gotten progressively harder physically and mentally for me. When I was single and 22 years old, I could sleep 12 hours on my day off and I didn’t have to be up at 6 a.m. with a little one.”
Smith, who also served head coaching stints with Oxbow boys soccer and Thetford baseball, is often out of the house by 5 a.m. for his work, which takes him as far south as Springfield and as far west as Killington. He supplies several ski areas during the winter and returning promptly for a 2 p.m. practice at Thetford was often a challenge.
“I make the kids be accountable, and it bugs me when I can’t be accountable,” said Smith, who guided the Panthers to the Vermont Division III finals last winter but endured a bout with mononucleosis along the way. “I may be sitting here in a year and going nuts without coaching, but I just don’t have it in me right now.”
— Tris Wykes
Whitehead Hired at KUA
Meriden — Kimball Union Academy has added former University of Maine men’s hockey coach Tim Whitehead to its athletic staff as the prep school’s new boys hockey coach. KUA made the announcement on Saturday.
Whitehead replaces Mike Levine, who spent two years on the Wildcats’ bench and led KUA to the top seed in the NEPSAC Elite 8 tournament last winter. Levine recently accepted a job as assistant coach to former Dartmouth College assistant Brendan Whittet with the Brown University men’s hockey program.
Fired by Maine after last season, in which the Black Bears went 11-19-8, Whitehead is going back to his roots. Before committing fully to coaching hockey, the Hamilton College graduate taught history and social studies at schools in New Jersey and Maine. The 51-year-old will work in the alumni and development office at Kimball Union in addition to his duties with the hockey program.
Maine went 250-171-54 over 12 seasons under Whitehead’s guidance. He previously coached Massachusetts-Lowell to a 76-95-11 mark over five years before moving to Orono.
KUA went 27-3-0 last winter, winning the Lakes Region title as well as the Flood-Marr and Nichols tournaments before bowing out of the Elite 8 quarterfinals. At least 10 Wildcats on last year’s squad have commitments to play NCAA Division I hockey in the future.
Hanover’s Roth Ousted
At N.H. Juniors
Salem, n.h. — Hanover High golfer Nathan Roth shot well enough to make the championship flight of the New Hampshire Golf Association Junior Championship yesterday at Campbell’s Scottish Highlands, but his stay in the match-play portion of the tournament ended in the afternoon.
Roth, a member of Hanover High’s back-to-back NHIAA golf champions the past two years, shot a 4-over-par 75 to tie for 11th place during yesterday morning’s 18-hole qualifying round to determine match-play seedings. Ranked 12th in the championship flight, Roth fell in his afternoon match to Wentworth by the Sea’s Tom Hixon, 3 and 1.
The NHGA also used the morning round as a qualifier for some for next month’s state amateur. Roth’s 75 was good enough for him to join six others in making the field for the amateur, which will be held at the Golf Club of New England in Stratham.
Several other Upper Valley golfers have dates in lower flights this afternoon. Mattson Rosenbaum, Roth’s Hanover teammate, is in the second-flight semifinals after a 2-and-1 defeat of Bald Peak’s William Tessier in his opening match. Hanover’s Chris Lehmann is in the fifth-flight semis after a 1-up decision over The Oaks’ T.J. Boulander in their quarterfinal.
A third Hanover Country Club golfer, Phin Choukas, qualified for the third flight but conceded his quarterfinal to Manchester’s Bennett Doherty.
Jr. Legion Baseball
Lebanon 7, New London 0
Bradford, n.h. — Chase Hussey threw a complete-game three-hitter as Lebanon Post 22’s junior squad (2-1-0) blanked New London in a New Hampshire American Legion game at Warner Brook Park.
Hussey blanked 10 and gave the hosts very little with which to build an offense. Although managing just five hits themselves, Post 22 still got a two-hit game from Cam Broughton and two RBIs from Tanner Simms. Ben Robinson reached base four times on three walks and a New London error, and Broughton, Hussey and Tom Jenkins all scored twice.
Post 22 plays out-of-league against Hartford Post 26’s senior team and returns to Granite State play on Saturday against Plymouth.
Touchline V 7
Upper Valley Utd. 0
Enfield — Six different players dented the net as Touchline ended a three-matches-in-three-days stretch with a shutout of Upper Valley United in a New Hampshire Soccer Conference game at Shaker Field.
Jake Acker scored twice to lead Touchline (2-1-0), which also picked up single strikes from Will Smith, Konrad Mitchell, Luke Messersmith, Nick Johnson and goalkeeper Connor Edson on a penalty kick. Smith also earned an assist, and Edson backed up the effort with the shutout in the net.
Touchline hosts Windsor SC tomorrow in Norwich.