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New Stevens High boys basketball coach takes over for return to Division II

  • Ray Curren, of Claremont, is the new head boys basketball coach at Stevens High School. Curren is in his third year as a school counselor at Stevens and is a former sports journalist. He currently coaches the Springfield girls soccer team, and has coached Newport girls soccer. Curren was photographed at Barnes Park in Claremont, N.H., Friday, June 2, 2020. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Ray Curren, of Claremont, is the new head boys basketball coach at Stevens High School. Curren is in his third year as a school counselor at Stevens and is a former sports journalist. He currently coaches the Springfield girls soccer team, and has coached Newport girls soccer. Curren was photographed at Barnes Park in Claremont, N.H., Friday, June 26, 2020. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/26/2020 6:02:19 PM
Modified: 6/26/2020 6:02:11 PM

CLAREMONT — The new boys basketball coach at Stevens High arrives at an ideal time.

Overmatched in NHIAA Division II the past two winters, the Cardinals return to D-III this season as Ray Curren takes over the program. It’s the 46-year-old Connecticut native’s first head basketball coaching job in New Hampshire, but he’s hardly a sideline novice.

Curren was approved to relieve athletic director Doug Beaupre earlier this month. Beaupre guided Stevens the second half of last season after the departure of previous coach Dan Ryan.

“One of my points of emphasis with youth basketball will be to build it up a little,” Curren said in a midweek phone chat. “I think Ivy (Condon), the girls coach, has had a presence, but there hasn’t been much of a boys presence. We need to have a feeder program in place. ... I want to continue that and build it, but it’s tough with COVID to get anything done, get anything in line.”

Curren adds the Stevens hoop duties to his role as Springfield (Vt.) High’s girls soccer coach. In his first season last fall, he led the Cosmos to an 11-4-1 mark and a trip to the VPA Division II quarterfinals. He also coached Newport High girls soccer to a 3-12-1 record in 2018.

After accepting a guidance counselor job at Stevens three years ago, Curren worked on the staff of then-boys basketball coach Matthew Baird-Torney, shifting with him to the Fall Mountain girls two years ago. The travel commitment became too much, so Curren returned to Stevens to aid Ryan and Beaupre as reserve team head coach last winter.

“I knew Ray, but I really got to know him when I coached the boys this past season,” Beaupre said. “He had a lot of great suggestions. He runs a very meaningful practice. The kids respect him, so I think he’ll do a nice job.”

Curren has mixed soccer, basketball, education and sportswriting ever since his mid-1990s graduation from Syracuse University. His first varsity coaching gig came with soccer at the all-girls Sacred Heart School in Hamden, Conn., in the early 2000s. Writing work with the New Haven Register enabled Curren to see basketball played at a high collegiate level.

Having earned a master’s degree in counselor education from Southern Connecticut State three years ago, Curren now oversees Stevens students on a regular basis. He’s found coaching an enjoyable addition to his routine.

“I try to tell the kids that it’s a long day and sports should be a stress-reliever,” he said. “I’ve always loved sports. It’s another avenue to compete, but some of the people who have had the biggest influence on me were coaches.”

Curren will be Stevens’ fourth head boys basketball coach since 2018. He’ll get a team that lost three seniors and went 3-15 against bigger foes — both in school size and athlete size — in D-II.

The Cardinals’ most recent successes came under Baird-Torney in D-III: A 21-3 campaign capped by their first state final in 78 years back in 2017 followed by an 11-10 mark and first-round tourney exit the next season. Stevens was 4-32 in D-II the past two winters.

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




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