GROTON — Groton-Dunstable history teacher Jason Gutzler has been chosen to be the new varsity boys soccer coach at the school, succeeding the legendary Dick Nyman, who retired after 30 years.
Gutzler, a former star at the Bromfield School, was the Groton-Dunstable junior varsity coach last season, after being the coach of the freshman team the two years before that.
“It’s a little intimidating and there’s some pressure going in because there’s some big shoes to fill,” said Gutzler. “There is no way I can replace Dick Nyman but it’s an exciting opportunity and the challenge will help motivate me.”
“We are excited to have Jason,” said Groton-Dunstable Athletic Director Dan Twomey. “He was heads and shoulders above everyone else and he has a clear vision of what he wants. He really is going to be a great teacher of the sport.”
Gutzler played for Tom Hill at Bromfield and was associated with Nyman at Groton-Dunstable and some of his style has been shaped by those experiences.
“My style has been influenced by Hill and Nyman, who are both old school coaches,” said Gutzler. “I believe in motivating players and taking an honest approach with them. I will try to build the team during practices with team-oriented drills, and when they game comes I won’t be into dissecting every play. I have more of a quiet style during games, although some strategy needs to be dealt with during games.”
How well does the new coach know the players in the program?
“I know them pretty well,” he said. “I coached many of them at the junior varsity and freshman level, and I also helped Dick in the tournament. I am excited about who we have coming back. How well they did in Division 1 last year was a huge accomplishment the goal is to try to build off that success.”
Jason is well aware of how crucial the feeder system is and he’s hoping that that system includes something new in the near future.
“I would like to see the middle school have soccer teams,” he said. “The sooner those kids are exposed to it, the better they will be prepared to play at this level.”
During Jason’s three years on the Bromfield varsity, he was on a State championship team as a sophomore, lost to Groton-Dunstable in the District finals as a junior, and beat Groton-Dunstable for a District championship as a senior.
“I guess there’s some irony about an ex-Bromfield player coaching at Groton-Dunstable,” said Jason. “My first game coaching against Tom Hill is going to be a lot of fun.”
When that day comes there won’t be any mixed loyalties.
“I love being at Groton-Dunstable, I’m thrilled to be the new coach and I want to be doing this a long time,” said Jason.
“Yeah it’s interesting having a Bromfield guy coaching us,” said Twomey. “Jason is looking forward to the challenge and he is passionate about the program. It is very nice to have someone in the system in charge of the program.”