LEWISTON — Ben Fournier remembers the first couple of weeks of high school lacrosse practice as a senior.

His father, Tom, was the coach.

Ben remembers well.

“He wasn’t shy about singling me out, that’s for sure,” Ben said. “He was big on setting an example for the younger players.”

Nine years after last playing for his father as a senior for Lewiston High School, five years after his father stepped down as the program’s first varsity coach and three years after coaching in his first game as an assistant, Fournier is back with the Blue Devils, assuming his father’s old role as head coach.

“It’s neat, comes full circle in a way,” Ben said.

The team’s fourth varsity coach, he takes over the program from Bill Bodwell, with whom he was an assistant in 2010.

“He’s certainly earned his chance,” Lewiston Athletic Director Jason Fuller said. “It’s good to have him back in the program. I know he thinks very highly of Lewiston lacrosse, and his family has done a lot for the program over the years. I’m looking for him to continue the success the program has had the past few years.”

Ben Fournier’s former Lewiston teammate Steve Cobb, now the head coach at Edward Little, brought Fournier with him to Oak Hill in 2011, and to EL last year as an assistant.

Just before the official start of spring practices, he got a call from Fuller.

“Fuller called me on a Thursday night, and I was applying on Friday morning,” Fournier said, snapping his fingers. “It was just like that.”

Fournier was hesitant at first. Cobb was in Vigrinia, training with his Reserve unit, and the first week of practice was upon them.

“He’s my buddy, and I was like, ‘I’ve got to hang my buddy out to dry, that’s not good,'” Fournier said. “At the same time, I couldn’t pass up the chance to coach. He understood. When I talked to him, he was like, ‘It stinks for us, but it’s good for you.'”

Tom Fournier, meanwhile, is simultaneously playing the role of proud father and skeptical former coach.

“Obviously I’m proud of him, but it certainly is interesting to see how it will all go,” Tom said. “It’s fun to see all these kids I used to coach now coaching in high school. It’s great. I’m really going to enjoy lacrosse this year.”

“You’d better believe dad comes to practices and goes to the games and has input for us,” Ben Fournier said. “That’s helpful.”

As was the case when Tom Fournier took over the program from Mike Courtemanche before the Blue Devils became a varsity program, Ben Fournier is working with a lot of younger players in his first spring with the squad.

“We have a young team, we’re really focusing on the basics, on the fundamentals, trying to get them to learn the game,” Ben Fournier said. “My seniors, they’re playing how they’re playing already. My freshmen and sophomores, they’re like sponges. It’s a blessing and a curse. Obviously the younger kids aren’t as game-experienced as the older kids. We have a good mix.”

Ben also has help from younger brother Jon, who is the team’s official assistant coach after volunteering his time in recent seasons. Tom, also a former Bates College assistant, is coaching the fledgling lacrosse program at Central Maine Community College. When they find time to get back together again — for a meal, or a quick chat — there’s little doubt about the topic.

“I’m going to be watching a lot of lacrosse this spring,” Tom said.

And anything his father says?

Ben will remember it well.


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