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Monday, January 7, 2013

Reyes reacts to loss of SD coach, GM

Tom King

Here are a few items of local interest as we begin the long, cold winter, looking forward to the Houston Texans’ return to Foxborough on Sunday:

Coaches get fired right and left in pro and college sports, but we often ignore the human element involved and just think about how it will change or improve things on the field for teams. ...

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Here are a few items of local interest as we begin the long, cold winter, looking forward to the Houston Texans’ return to Foxborough on Sunday:

Coaches get fired right and left in pro and college sports, but we often ignore the human element involved and just think about how it will change or improve things on the field for teams.

Consider the experience of former Nashua North standout Kendall Reyes, who saw his head coach, Norv Turner, fired in San Diego after Reyes’ rookie season. Not only was Turner canned, so was the man who drafted Reyes, A.J. Smith.

“Regardless of what happened, you have to be resilient, and that’s the type of group we have in the locker room,” Reyes said last week when the Charger players were cleaning out their lockers. “That’s what we’re going to do, and whatever happens from this day forth, we just have to approach it one day at a time.”

Reyes, who finished his rookie season with 5.5 sacks and 28 total tackles (16 solo, 12 assists) talked about his loyalty to Turner.

“Norv is a great guy,” Reyes said. “I love him to death, and I’ve learned a lot from him. I’ll forever remember him, and I hope we’ll stay in touch.”

See? Coaches can have a lasting effect on some players, and it’s obvious Turner had one on Reyes, who was asked about the future.

“I’m just taking it one day at a time,” he said. “During this off season, I just have to do everything that I can to become a better player; in the end, that’s going to help the team. That’s what my focus is right now.”

Spoken like a true pro, which Reyes has certainly become.

Sad to hear of the passing of former longtime Alvirne assistant baseball coach Jack Cotter in late December.

Cotter worked with the Alvirne program under head coach Mike Lee from 1986-2011. He made his mark immediately in ’86, coaching the Broncos 1986 junior varsity team that produced players who took the Broncos to the 1988 Class L championship game.

“That group of freshmen, JV players was one of our best, if not the best ever,” Lee said. “By the time they were juniors, they were in a state championship game.”

Later, Cotter became Lee’s right-hand man on the bench.

“It was like having Don Zimmer next to me all those years,” Lee said.

Cotter, 77, played his high school baseball in Dorchester, Mass. (St. Peter’s School) and also coached in the Hollis youth programs, including Babe Ruth. He became ill over the past year, and as a result, he had to sit out the 2012 baseball season. It obviously won’t be the same on the Alvirne bench.

“He volunteered his time to mentor many young men in the Alvirne baseball program,” Lee said. “He’ll be missed.”

Interesting moves in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, mainly the move of one of the circuit’s founding fathers, Chris Carminucci, back to a more time-consuming role in professional baseball.

According to Commissioner Chris Hall, Carminucci, of the Carminucci Sports Group, will be “focusing more of his efforts” as a scout with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Carminucci’s group really was the driving force behind the creation of the league, particularly with his stakes in the Martha’s Vineyard, Torrington, Conn., and Brockton Rox. He has a vast baseball resume, served as the Rox manager at one point when the team was in the Can-Am League, and has scouted for the Phillies and Royals.

Carminucci has also been known as a top talent procurer for independent professional baseball, placing players with several different franchises over the years.

It’s assumed his group will still run the franchises but, as Hall said, “He’s been extremely influential throughout the first two years of the FCBL’s existence. … His past efforts are irreplaceable and he’ll continue to be a source of knowledge and guidance.”

It’ll be interesting to see how that all plays out.

Meanwhile, there won’t be any Richie Hebner visits to Holman Stadium this summer, but he will be just up the road.

Hebner, the colorful former major leaguer and Red Sox hitting coach, last summer managed the North Shore Navigators, which the Nashua Silver Knights defeated in the FCBL finals. But he’s left that post and accepted a position with the Toronto Blue Jays as the hitting instructor for their AA affiliate in Manchester, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Hebner’s old-time, traditional baseball style was always a treat to behold, and his presence in the FCBL was certainly a plus for the league.

“His depth of knowledge and experience will be difficult to replace,” Hall said.

Finally, remember Jamie Keefe? Keefe was a former shortstop at Spaulding High School, went on to a pro career in the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres systems, and was actually the last manager of the independent minor league franchise that left Nashua for Pittsfield back in 2010.

When that dissolved, Keefe eventually returned to Pittsfield as the Pittsfield Suns manager in the FCBL last year, guiding them to a 27-25 mark. He’s leaving to manage the Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League. He was that league’s Manager of the Year in Pittsfield in 2011, the final year of existence of the franchise formerly known as the Nashua Pride/American Defenders of New Hampshire.

Here’s one for you, as they always get creative over at Daniel Webster College: Next Saturday at 2 p.m., the Division III Eagles men’s basketball team, 4-6 overall at last look (with Nashua’s Ryan Gauthier averaging 10.4 points a game), will venture to Providence, R.I., to face Brown University, something Eagles coach Dave Faucher did plenty of times during his days guiding Dartmouth College.

Brown is 4-8 at last look but owns an upset 69-68 win over Providence College.

This isn’t unprecedented for the Eagles, who began their season with a Midnight Madness loss to crosstown rival Rivier nearly two months ago. It will be their fourth game against a Division I opponent in their history. They played Dartmouth and The Citadel in the early part of the 2007-08 season.

Their last Division I game? It was against Harvard back on Dec. 28, 2008, and the Crimson had a point guard at the time named Jeremy Lin.

Tom King can be reached at 594-6468 or tking@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow King on Twitter (@Telegraph_TomK).