As an assistant high school football coach for the past 11 years, Chris Bourget has certainly paid his dues.
But beginning this fall he gets the chance to run his own program.
The former Enfield (Conn.) assistant coach has been named the new head football coach at Belchertown High School. Athletic director R.J. Marchewka notified the Gazette of the hiring Wednesday.
“To become a head coach has been a lifelong dream of mine,” Bourget said. “This opportunity is very exciting. Belchertown is a great community with a tremendous school system and a high level of academic excellence.”
The 34-year-old Chicopee resident is a physical education and health teacher at Bellamy Middle School in Chicopee. He grew up in Woonsocket, R.I., and played four seasons at Westfield State before embarking on a coaching career.
After 10 years as an assistant at Chicopee Comp starting in 2002, Bourget moved on to an assistant post at Enfield, where he spent the last few months coaching spring football.
Bourget was officially tabbed on Tuesday to replace John Mayo, who resigned as baseball and football coach on May 3 in the aftermath of a late April altercation with the father of a baseball player.
Mayo wanted the man immediately banned from practices and games, which the father was roughly a week after the coach offered his resignation.
In Mayo’s five seasons, the Orioles compiled a record of 35-23 and reached the postseason the last three years. From 2010-12, Belchertown won 28 games and lost just eight.
This past season was one of the best in the program’s 13-year history as Belchertown earned a spot in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Super Bowl before losing to Mount Greylock 24-0.
“There’s a history of success with the football program,” Bourget said. “I’m looking to contribute to that and keep it going.”
One similarity Bourget has with his predecessor is his background as an offensive coach. He served as the offensive coordinator for nine of his 10 seasons at Chicopee Comp. In his time there, the Colts ran some spread sets and well as multiple sets from the I-formation. Enfield uses the spread offense, as did Belchertown under Mayo.
“Everything will be up-tempo,” Bourget said. “On both sides of the ball, we want to play fast and physical. We want to be aggressive in all areas.”
Football teams can begin official practices on Aug. 26, giving Bourget and his staff just over seven weeks to prepare. They will be busy weeks for the new Orioles coach.
“Hours and hours of reading and getting everything together,” he said. “Meetings with the staff, especially with the time constraints against us. I’ll do everything I can to prepare myself and the team for the season.”
The new realignment to accommodate a statewide playoff originally placed Belchertown in Division 4, but the school won an appeal to be moved into Division 5.
While Bourget looks to make an impact this season, he’s committed to sustained success.
“I have short-term and long-term goals,” he said. “The town has a solid youth system and I look forward to working with those coaches to help feed the varsity program.”
Michael Wilkinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.