Timberlane Owls Football '07

Mike Pariseau » File Photo

End of era: Pariseau resigns at Timberlane

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Tuesday, January, 29 By Dave Dyer
Staff writer

Five months ago, Mike Pariseau was fairly certain that 2007 would be his last season as the Timberlane head football coach. But he couldn't bring himself to make it official until three weeks ago.

"It's hard to give up something (coaching football) you've been doing for 42 years," said Pariseau, who is also retiring as a physical education teacher. "I think it's time, but it's not something I'm completely comfortable with."

By resigning, the 65-year-old Pariseau is ending the longest and most successful tenure since Timberlane began its football program in the late 1960s. Pariseau coached the Owls for 15 years, compiling a record of 80-71. The Owls made the playoffs five of the last nine years and captured Division 2 state titles in 1999 and 2001.

In the nine years before Pariseau took over, the Owls had only one winning season under the direction of three different coaches, and their overall record in that span was an unflattering 22-62.

The highlight for Pariseau was that first championship in 1999, when the 10-1 Owls won their first state title after finishing 3-8 the previous year.

"That '99 season was very rewarding for sure," said Pariseau. "Those seniors had never won more than three games on any level so to win it all was a great feeling. Plus that ended a (Exeter) 25-game winning streak.

"But from my standpoint, every year has been rewarding. I love the kids I've been around, and the school and community have been great. Plus, I've had a great staff and we've had a lot of fun. I've tried to make it enjoyable while winning.

"A long time ago, I had a kid tell me that if he wasn't having fun, he wouldn't keep playing. I've tried to remember that."

Pariseau must have enjoyed it at Timberlane because he spent more time with the Owls than at any other of his many football stops.

He began his coaching career at the University of Bridgeport in 1963 as a graduate assistant and he made college stops as an assistant at Slippery Rock, Syracuse, West Point, Youngstown State and Rhode Island. He also coached previously on the high school level, including as head man at King Philip.

In addition to creating stability and a winning program, Pariseau more than tripled the numbers involved with football.

"When he came in, our numbers were in the 30s and now it's 120 to 130," said Timberlane athletic director Bucky Tardif. "He went to the two-platoon system (different players playing offense and defense) and got kids excited about football.

"Mike is one of a kind, and we've been very fortunate to have him. I think you can talk to all the kids who have played for him, and I think almost all of them enjoyed it. The number of former players who come back to see him is a testament to how popular he became.

"You can sum him up with one word | 'coach.' Anywhere you go, in the school, in the community, everybody calls him coach. He's made a great impact, as a coach and also as a teacher."

Tardif will begin taking applications to replace Pariseau up until February vacation and begin the interview process immediately after vacation with the goal of choosing a new coach by April. With the possibility that the position could be accompanied by a (physical education) teaching position, the position should attract a strong field.

Among his assistants who could apply are Kevin Fitzgerald, Jaime Sawler and Jamie Fish.

Whoever gets the position should also inherit a solid nucleus that includes standout lineman Brian Nicoll and sophomore running back Derek Furey. Also, a strong eighth-grade class will give the program an added boost.

"That's one of the difficult things, leaving now with the kids coming back," said Pariseau. "It would always be like that, but there are some very, very nice kids returning. I love the kids here and I'm not embarrassed to say that. It's tough to leave."

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