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‘A Lebanon guy through and through’: Lebanon baseball field dedicated in honor of Doug Ashey

  • Family friend and neighbor Nancy Chiasson, left, hugs Charlene Ashey during the dedication of Douglas M. Ashey Memorial Baseball Field at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, N.H., on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report For America photographs — Alex Driehaus

  • Family and friends of Doug Ashey laugh as they listen to anecdotes about him during the dedication of Douglas M. Ashey Memorial Baseball Field at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, N.H., on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Ashey, a longtime coach of the Lebanon High baseball team, died in 2019 soon after being diagnosed with cancer. Speakers remembered Ashey as a man who was widely loved and who treated everyone around him like family. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Doug Ashey

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/19/2021 7:39:38 AM
Modified: 10/19/2021 6:51:33 PM

Lebanon School District board chairman Richard Milius said the district rarely renames facilities for individuals.

They were more than happy to make an exception over the weekend.

Lebanon High will now play baseball at the newly-dedicated Douglas M. Ashey Memorial Field, renamed at a ceremony Saturday to honor the coach who spent 18 years presiding over his alma mater until he died of pancreatic cancer on October 29, 2019. He was 64.

“I really considered him a friend,” Lebanon athletic director Mike Stone said. “He impressed me as a genuine human being. He had the passion for baseball, but he also had passion for teaching it, and he did it with dignity. That’s really what we’re looking for as an athletic director.”

Ashey was a three-sport star at Lebanon, starting for the football, basketball and baseball teams before graduating in 1973. He went on to work for a local manufacturing company, leaving in the early afternoon to coach.

Scott Langley, a football teammate of Ashey’s, raised his family in West Fairlee, but still found time to visit Ashey occasionally. Langley said Ashey treated him as an equal even though the future coach was a much more accomplished athlete.

“He was a Lebanon guy through and through,” Langley said. “It was a wonderful time for me in my life, (and) Doug was an integral part of it.”

Ashey’s first high school coaching opportunity came at Kearsarge in North Sutton, N.H. In addition to leading the baseball program, he also was briefly an assistant boys’ basketball coach, working for his former Lebanon teammate Marty Brown — who came in from Florida for Saturday’s ceremony.

“We had great experiences in our youth,” Brown said. “After high school, Doug and I separated for a while, and by good fortune I had the chance to be the athletic director at Kearsarge. Doug reached so many people from his position here.”

But when Ashey took the job with the Raiders in 2002, his first call was to another ex-teammate, Gary Tremblay.

Tremblay was Ashey’s top assistant for his entire tenure in Lebanon, during which the Raiders went 181-128 and reached the NHIAA Division II finals in 2012. Ashey was named NHIAA baseball coach of the year in 2010. But beyond the wins and losses, Tremblay remembers Ashey’s commitment to his players’ well-being.

“I’ve seen times when Doug was going up and beyond the call of duty for his players,” Tremblay said. “One time, we had a player who got in a car accident. We didn’t know if he was going to live. He said, ‘we’ve got a player in the hospital, we’ve got to be there for him. We had a good visit with our player. He came out of it, pitched another couple years for us, and played in college.”

The Raiders wore patches with Ashey’s initials on their caps this past season, and Ashey’s motto — ”Dare to be great” — is displayed on the new backstop signage.

“He wanted you to be the best you could be,” current Lebanon head coach Chauncey Wood said. “He wanted you to exceed all expectations you had for yourself, and dig deep and find out what you really could be. He challenged you to be better than you were every day before.”

Ashey’s legacy will live on at the field he called home, which will undergo significant renovations in the next year.

Stone and principal Ian Smith are hoping to make the entrance feel more like that of a stadium, and they plan to erect a permanent sign with the field’s new name.

“It’s great to see the outpouring of people,” Stone said. “This community is really close-knit, and to have people from all over the place, baseball coaches who I haven’t seen in a long time, speaks to the cohesiveness of this. It means something when they grew up together, and they maintained those friendships throughout life.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.




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