Boucher named Lebanon girls hoop coach

  • Chris Boucher

Valley News Sports Editor
Published: 6/26/2021 11:00:05 PM
Modified: 6/29/2021 11:18:38 AM

LEBANON — Chris Boucher remembers spending basketball nights next to Tim Kehoe, learning about the game and thinking about possibly becoming a high school varsity coach someday.

That was the early 1990s. Boucher has finally reached his goal, having been named Lebanon High’s new girls basketball coach on Saturday morning.

Boucher, 48, got his first taste of the sidelines as a Lebanon High senior, serving as Kehoe’s manager with the varsity girls. Nearly 30 years later he’s the next in line, succeeding former Raider guard Emily Kehoe, who coached Lebanon to a 9-4 mark last winter in her one season in charge.

“This is my dream job,” Boucher said in a phone interview on Saturday. “It’s one of those things you put on your wall and say, ‘Someday, you’ll be there.’ It gets me reminiscing about the time when I was manager. This is awesome, to be part of the history of the Lebanon program.”

While the varsity job will be his first, the 1992 Lebanon graduate has seemingly done just about everything else involving a ball, a bench and a playing surface.

After graduating from Castleton University in 1997, Boucher landed an assistant’s job with new Lebanon High boys basketball coach Kieth Matte that winter. Boucher was part of a staff that led the Raiders to an NHIAA Division II state championship in 1998.

Since then, he’s held subvarsity girls and boys hoop jobs at Proctor High and Otter Valley Union in Vermont as well as Kearsarge Middle School, near where he lives with his wife, Rebecca, and two teenage daughters, both of whom attend Kearsarge High. Boucher served as Emily Kehoe’s junior varsity coach at Lebanon last winter, leading the JV to a .500 mark and a pair of wins over Hanover.

The varsity Raiders lost just one player, Sally Rainey, to graduation, so Boucher has a good read on what his first varsity squad will have for talent. Three of Lebanon’s top four scorers from last winter — Catherine Cole (12.8 points per game), Molly Smith (7.8) and Ella Longacre (7.8) — return, and Boucher expects two swing players, M.J. Jewell and Maddie Newton, to make major contributions, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. Clara Smyrski, Keira Houdegbe and Mary Rainey will also return.

“After this year, we’re definitely going to have to generate points from the defensive end,” Boucher said. “It’s just the fact that a lot of other teams look for Catherine Cole to do all of the scoring, and the other girls are capable and talented basketball players. They’re going to need to be confident in helping out on the scoring end.”

Knowing the girls who will return led Boucher to pursue the job. Knowing he plans to stick around for a while helped him win it.

“This won't be a short-term process,” Boucher said. “A lot of coaches are one or two years and done. I plan to be here for the long haul.”

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.




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