Published DateBy Lloyd Jones
CONWAY — A familiar Eagle has been chosen to become the next varsity baseball coach at Kennett High.
Brian Day, who has been involved in the Kennett baseball program for over three decades, including serving as the junior varsity coach for the past 12 years, was unanimously selected by the Conway School Board Feb. 25. He takes over for coaching legend Bob Burns, who retired after 42 years at the helm last June.
"I'm pretty excited," Day said by phone. "I know I've got some big shoes to fill, but I think I've been around Burnsy since 1971 so I know how the program should work. It's going to keep running that way and I hope to expand on it. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity."
Day was Burns' first choice for the post.
"I'm quite pleased with the selection," Burns said. "I think the school did a great job of sticking with someone from within the program. Brian knows the kids; knows the program so well; and knows the sport — he's a great choice."
Day and the high school baseball program will open spring training on Monday, March 18.
Day, who graduated from Kennett High in 1973, was a four-year starting catcher for Burns while in high school. He later coached middle school baseball at Kennett before becoming the junior varsity coach at the high school.
Elected to the Kennett High Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, Day while at Kennett played football, basketball and baseball all four years, He was captain of the basketball team his senior year and went on to play a year of football at Plymouth State College. Day is also the former boys' varsity basketball coach at Kennett; is the freshman football coach; has coached middle school girls' basketball; and most recently has been the color analyst on Kennett boys' and girls' varsity basketball games for Valley Vision (Channel 3) TV.
Day will be paid $3,275 as the varsity coach.
"Brian will do a fine job," Burns added. "He's very knowledgable, and the big thing is he knows the kids. I think there was probably quite a bit of interest in the job until people realized how much work actually goes into it. There's a lot involved from paperwork to being available and having a flexible schedule, (laughing) not to mention the bus rides, which were my nemesis.
"Brian's loyalty to the high school has been been so good," he continued. "He knows the game of baseball so well. He's got quite the background and is well known and well-respected around the state. There are opposing coaches who know Brian and respect him."
Burns, who retired at the end of last season after 42 years at Kennett High, left the diamond as the current all-time leader in New Hampshire high school baseball victories. His teams went 511-312 since 1971. Aside from being perennially in the post-season, the Eagles won two state championships in the Burns era and reached the Final Four eight times.
The school board also approved the bulk of its spring slate of coaches for the high school. Maxine Cadman is the new varsity girls' tennis coach at Kennett, taking over for Deb Lemire, who retired after two years last spring. Cadman will receive $2,675.
Peter Ames was approved as varsity softball coach at $3,954.
Laurel Zengilowski was approved as junior varsity softball coach at $2,675.
Bernie Livingston was approved as varsity boys' and girls' track coach at $4,696.
Tim Livingston and Ken Sciacca were approved as assistant track coach at $2,356 each.
Chris Bailey was approved as varsity boys' tennis coach at $2,955.
Jared Doherty was approved as varsity lacrosse coach at $2,500.
Garrett Meador was approved as junior varsity lacrosse coach at $2,000.
Both lacrosse positions are being funded by the MWV Lacrosse Club this spring.
Kathleen Murdough and Peter Kondrat were approved as track volunteers, while Rick West was approved as baseball volunteer.
No one has been hired to succeed Day as the junior varsity baseball coach. There is also a vacancy for a junior varsity girls' tennis coach, but the board indicated that post may not need to be filled this spring as girls' tennis numbers may be down.
"I've been critical in the past for these positions not coming forward sooner so I want to commend Kerry Brady (athletic director at Kennett High) and Neal Moylan (principal at Kennett High) for bringing the list forward three weeks before the start of the seasons," board member John Skelton said. "I think an updated schedule is a good thing. I have no concerns and fully support this list."
Skelton, who serves as the chairman of the co-curricular committee, also praised the three volunteers for being willing to donate their services. He said the search remains active for a JV baseball coach while JV girls' tennis is not being advertised at this time "as the numbers for varsity could be around 12-14 girls."