It was the job Isaac LeBlanc had been looking for. And he couldn’t pass up the chance to give it a shot.

Isaac LeBlanc is the next Waterville football coach, athletic director Heidi Bernier announced Monday. Submitted photo

LeBlanc was hired as head football coach at Waterville Senior High School, the school announced in an email Monday. The 31-year-old LeBlanc takes over for Matt Gilley and will lead the Purple Panthers in their first season as an 8-man football program.

“Being a high school football coach is something that’s always been on my radar. And it just seemed to work out,” said LeBlanc, a former quarterback and linebacker at Jay High School before graduating in 2007. “It just seems like a perfect opportunity for me to get my foot in the door at the high school level. I’m just really thrilled.”

Waterville athletic director Heidi Bernier, who hired LeBlanc on Thursday, said she believes he will be an enthusiastic addition to the school.

“Isaac is well-known in the community and well-respected,” she said. “I think he’s got a lot of passion for the game, I think he’s a student of the game, and I think he’s going to bring a lot of energy to our program.”

LeBlanc is a familiar figure in the Waterville sports community. He’s the athletic director at the Alfond Youth and Community Center and has been there since 2010, and has worked with many of the Waterville players in clinics and organizations over the years.

That familiarity, LeBlanc said, is one of the reasons he’s looking forward to taking over a team that went 2-6 and missed the playoffs in Class C last season.

“It’s exciting to get the opportunity to coach a lot of those guys again,” he said. “I’ve lived in the Waterville area since 2007, I’ve been here a while, I know a tremendous amount of people in the community. … That, mixed with my passion for football being my favorite sport and my favorite sport to coach, everything just seemed to line up. When this popped up, I was like, ‘I’ve got to go for this.'”

Bernier said LeBlanc’s community connections could strengthen the program’s turnout.

“It was very clear in his interview that he had a lot of energy and was willing to put the time in to improve our program,” Bernier said. “Our numbers have been declining … and you need someone who’s going to invest the time and energy to grow that program. Certainly, Isaac’s connection with the youth feeder program should assist with that.”

LeBlanc has run camps and taught youth football, but acknowledges he has no coaching experience at the high school level. He called it “the elephant in the room,” but said he’s excited for the task.

“I look at that as a great opportunity and a great challenge,” he said. “To learn and gain a better understanding of the game, (which is) a process that should never stop, anyway. A coach is always looking for ways to improve and get better.”

LeBlanc said he’s looking forward to scheming for opponents and drawing up game plans, and teaching those concepts to his players.

“Probably the most rewarding part of coaching has always been when players that you coach finally start to see the payoff of why you do all these things,” he said, “why you rep so many times and why you work so hard. When they finally see (it) and the light bulb comes on in their mind, that this is worth it, it justifies what you’re doing as a coach.”


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