When Hebron Academy football players report for their first practice on Sep. 2, greeting them will be a new head coach with nearly 40 years of college coaching experience.
With the wealth of knowledge Tom Radulski brings from coaching at schools such as Bowdoin, Colby, Holy Cross and the University of New Hampshire, Hebron hopes to bounce back into contention in the Evergreen League.
For all of the changes to the game Radulski has seen in a distinguished career in football, he still believes success on the field boils down to one word, fundamentals.
“We want to play fundamentally sound football,” Radulski said. “We want to block and tackle well. We want to make sure we can run the football. Your chances of winning increase when you run the football. We want to be strong in the kicking game.”
As Hebron’s second coach in three years, Radulski will have a wide range of football ability to mold. The roster includes three post-graduates, running back/defensive back Christian Peete, wide receiver/defensive back Justin Beckett and linebacker Jake Bieler, who hope to move on to Division I college football. He also has a number or returning seniors from the area, including quarterback Ben English and linemen Ryan Kappelmann and Quinn Woods. Radulski has tried to familiarize himself with their talents by watching film over the summer.
But coaching the Lumberjacks also involves welcoming players, some of them international students, with limited or even no football experience, let alone film of past performances. That chance to teach is one of the most appealing aspects of the job to Radulski.
“We’ve got a fair amount of walk-on kids. It’s all about helping them reach their potential,” he said. “You want to teach the fundamentals of the game to get players to maximize their potential.”
The Lumberjacks play a challenging eight-game schedule that starts Sep. 23 at Dexter School, continues at home against Hyde on Sep. 30 and closes at rival Kents Hill on Nov. 11.