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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Johnson’s departure from Bishop Guertin no surprise

Tom King

As we close the book on April, it’s time to take stock in some recent news:

First, how predictable was it that Tony Johnson would be leaving Bishop Guertin High School as athletic director? While he has a knack for the administrative side, the man is a born coach and you simply can’t take the coach out of intense competitors. Once he was ordered to give up his football job and be strictly the Cards’ AD, the countdown to his departure began.

Thus, that chapter is closed and Guertin, which issued a press release applauding Johnson’s efforts, now has to decide how to move on.

“There’s mixed emotions,” said Johnson, who is now the head football coach at Worcester Academy and will actually be living next fall on the school’s campus. “I have a tremendous amount of love and affection for (BG).

“I had a great career at BG. The kids have been great. Everything’s been great. But I’m a coach. I still have my coaching blood in me. That’s where my passion is. … In administration, you’re not with kids every day. I enjoyed my time as coach and AD. But I love coaching.

“Again, it’s a situation where I sat down and said to myself, ‘What do I want to do?’ I want to coach.”

Johnson will have some administrative and residential duties at Worcester (he’ll be what they call a “dorm parent”), and will also help coach track. He’s already spending some time there when possible.

“I’ve always understood and believed in the prep school environment,” he said. “It was a great fit for what I really wanted to do.”

Johnson wholeheartedly recommends that assistant athletic director Steve Duprat be his successor. Guertin has not yet publicly addressed that issue.

Big spring for DWC

It’s been quite a spring at Daniel Webster College, and it could be quite a week as the baseball and softball teams are in New England Collegiate Conference tournament action.

First, the Eagles swept Elms college over the weekend – Hudson’s Korey LeLievre played a big role – and captured the regular season NECC crown. As a result, they’ll host the conference tourney at Harvey Woods Field on Friday through Sunday with the hopes of gaining their first ever NCAA tournament berth.

LeLievre tossed a complete game win in the clincher and also went 3 for 5 at the plate with an RBI triple. Of course, it won’t get easy for the Eagles, because guess who they open the double elimination tourney with on Friday at 11 a.m.? Yep, you guessed it, Elms.

Meanwhile, the Eagles softball team is enjoying the best season in the school’s history, finishing the regular season at 20-17 and hoping for success in the NECC tourney, where it’s the third seed. Another Hudson athlete had a standout weekend as Samantha Hill knocked in five runs in a doubleheader win over Newbury.

Great weekend, could be an even better week.

Pats draft

What’s the word on the Patriots haul in the NFL draft?

Well, they obviously did fine with their first three picks, their fourth pick is a question mark and leave it to New England to pick both a rugby player and a player charged with assaulting a police officer in the same day (Saturday’s final day).

Ohio State special teamer and rugby player Nate Ebner is somebody you want to root for. His rugby skills translate into being a superb special teamer; remember, Bill Belichick is a coach who turned a wrestler, Stephen Neal, into a solid offensive lineman, although Ebner and Neal are reversals in that Ebner did play football in college but didn’t play in high school; Neal just the opposite. Then there’s the tragic story of the murder of Ebner’s father, whom he idolized, a few years ago.

The player many may not root for is cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, charged with felony assault of a police officer following a bar brawl on Apr. 21 in Lincoln, Neb.

The former Cornhusker may be a good football player, but it reportedly took four officers to contain him during the incident, and you wonder what the reaction will be from local law enforcement types concerning the pick that Belichick said they were “comfortable” in making in the seventh round after they “researched” the incident.

All other picks were made available by the Pats via conference call during the draft except those in the seventh round. Interesting.

B’s tee times

And what to make of the Bruins’ early Stanley Cup exit? Here’s what:

They need better play from their top forwards. Once Patrice Bergeron suffered his injuries in Game 5, there was no way they were going to beat the Caps two straight. The culprits in these eyes were David Krejci and Milan Lucic, who need to raise their level as long as they stay with the organization (Krejci has often been mentioned as trade bait).

Krejci has really fallen; two years ago he was the team’s best forward and it was his injury that cost them against the Flyers. Lucic is big, strong, and needs to go to the net down low more often, it’s inexcusable he can’t be a consistent scoring threat.

And the fatigue excuses you heard from the Bruins in the days following their ouster were laughable. Let’s see how the Capitals do against the Rangers and we might be able to measure just how bad of a loss this was.

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