GROTON — When a new high school athletic program is started, there are many “i’s” to dot and “t’s” to cross. But no decision is more important than choosing the person to run the program.
The Groton-Dunstable Regional High School football program will become a reality this fall, and athletic director Dan Twomey announced recently that Derek Asadoorian will be the head coach of the fledgling Crusaders.
“I am both humbled and proud to be a part of such an historic opportunity for the high school and the community,” said Asadoorian. “When I first decided to apply for my teaching position at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School, I did my homework. The communities were ideal, the school’s philosophy matched my own, and there are such wonderful, dynamic people associated with the school. I was shocked, however to find out that a high school this size did not have a football team.”
“Derek is the right man for the job,” said Twomey. “He knows and understands the school, culture and students. He has high expectations of the student-athletes and he is highly qualified. His eight years of experience as an assistant coach at Ayer are important and he is ready to become a head coach.”
Groton-Dunstable Regional High School has been a member of a co-operative football program with Ayer High School and the two schools have combined to put some strong teams on the field. Asadoorian was a key member of the coaching staff, and the experience he gained there bodes well for his new undertaking.
“Coaching over at Ayer has been a refuge for me,” said Asadoorian. “I have met so many dedicated people and outstanding young men and women through my association with the Ayer High School football program. Groton-Dunstable football players who played for Ayer High School would say the same. What is apparent, though, is that the intangible feeling that a school gets from its football program has not been fulfilled at GDRHS. We are on the way toward filling that void.
“My experience with Ayer head coach Jamie Lamoreaux has been exceptional,” said Asadoorian. “I have nothing but positive things to say about the experience. The diversity of the two communities and the friendships forged would have never happened had the co-operative program not been intact. It has been a win-win experience for both schools.”
Asadoorian and his wife Maureen live in Westminster and have two children, a daughter Allie who is four years old, and a son Owen, who is 15 months old. Derek played football at Bridgewater-Raynham High School, and also for two years at Bates College. He has a philosphy about what football and playing team sports means.
“In order to be successful one must have discipline, fortitude, mental toughness, desire, resilience through adversity, a willingness to sacrifice, and a sense of commitment to what is personally meaningful,” said Asadoorian. “Belonging to a competitive athletic team helps to develop these important character traits. Football helps to develop a sense of responsibility, accountability, and perseverance better than any other sport. Everyone has a job to do when playing a team sport. In football, if you don’t do your job one of your teammates could get hurt. The success of the football team at GDRHS will be measured not on wins and losses, but on the lessons learned and character development of young men who are striving to be winners on and off the field.”
Two key reasons that varsity football will start at Groton-Dunstable this fall are the recent emergence of youth football in Groton and Dunstable, and a scheduling slot opening up this fall.
“Without a freshman program it will be critical to work with Groton-Dunstable Youth Football,” said Asadoorian. “I understand how important it is to our development and sustaining the program. I want the football players at the high school to run clinics with them.”
The Crusaders’ schedule will include league games against Assabet, Nashoba Tech, Monty Tech, Bay Path, Blackstone Valley, Keefe Tech and Worcester, along with non-league games against Maynard and Tyngsborough (Thanksgiving Day).
“We know we will have a tough schedule with no easy games,” said Asadoorian. “We are lucky to have kids with varsity experience. The season will be a challenge and the road will be bumpy, but I’m excited and ready to go. It is important that we create an atmosphere that has been missing at Groton-Dunstable. We want the spirit and camaraderie that goes along with having a football program.”
But there is plenty to do before the opening kickoff in September.
“The biggest concern is finances,” said Asadoorian. “Also a top priority is assembling an assistant coaching staff.”