METHUEN — After spending the past four years as the head coach of the Methuen High football team, Glen Gearin learned his contract was not being renewed after a recent meeting with high school principal Arthur Nicholson and athletic director Jim Weymouth.
“We agreed to disagree on the final outcome but I respect the decision,” Gearin said. “It’s a business decision; you have to take it for what its worth and move on.”
Gearin, whose teams won just three games in four seasons, including a 1-9 mark this past fall, said he was given the opportunity to “walk away” from the team, but he didn’t want to show the kids how to give up.
“I think it was important for the kids. We’re in this profession — we always have been — to work with kids and I told them they never quit on us and we certainly weren’t going to quit on them and by walking away,” Gearin said. “I think that would have been an indication that we quit on something and we’re fighters.”
Gearin thought it was important to teach the kids more than just the game of football.
“The athletics we play and we coach, for as exciting as they are or as big as they appear to be now for someone at the moment, is a small part of their life,” Gearin said. “So if they can learn how to be positive about wins and losses and how to do things correctly, I have confidence that it’s worked before and it’ll keep working. For as hard as this is now, I know that there were a lot of positive influences.”
Nicholson said the decision was not an easy one to make.
“Probably the toughest decision I’ve ever made in regard to someone I’ve known since he was in high school,” Nicholson said of Gearin, who graduated from Methuen High in 1983. “It was not an easy time for me — purely a business decision and sometimes you have to make those.”
Nicholson praised Gearin as a quality person on and off the field.
“He’s a real gentleman,” Nicholson said. “The kids respected him and he treated the kids with respect and dignity.”
Weymouth echoed Nicholson’s thoughts on Gearin’s character.
“Glen put his heart and soul into our football program,” Weymouth said. “He was a good role model for our student-athletes. He instilled pride and emphasized good character.”
Despite having all the coaching qualities, Nicholson said he couldn’t overlook Gearin’s 3-37 record during the past four seasons.
“That’s what it boils down to,” Nicholson said. “Four years of losing; that’s not easy.”
Gearin took over as head coach in 2003 and ended the season with a 2-8 record. The Rangers then had back-to-back 0-10 seasons before snapping a 30-game losing streak with a win over Belchertown this fall.
Gearin said he didn’t know how to feel about it being a numbers game.
“I guess that would be with mixed emotions. Sad that that’s what it boils down to, but that’s what it is,” Gearin said. “If it’s the number thing that you can live with, I think there were a whole lot of other things that were positive other than numbers.”
Gearin knew at the end of last season that the 2006 campaign could very well be his last, but he still handled the season the same way, without change.
“I don’t think I handled anything different. I was asked if I would be interested in walking away and back then I said no,” Gearin explained. “I would know when it was time to go and that was the conversation that I had with Brian (Urquhart) and Arthur (Nicholson) at the end of the ’05 season. I didn’t treat it any differently at that point, and I said I wouldn’t because once you start thinking about it, it’s going to wear on you and you’re not going to do your job correctly.”
Gearin added that had he known the outcome four years ago when he took the position, he would still accept the opportunity.
“Sure, absolutely I welcomed the challenge. We knew when we went for this that it would be difficult because we had been in the program prior and we kind of saw down the road,” Gearin explained. “I wouldn’t change a thing. I was certainly appreciative of the opportunity and grateful that I took the opportunity and I’d do it again, as difficult as it was at times, but I think anything like this will make a person stronger — both players and coaches.”
Gearin has been coaching at the high-school level for the past 20 years and plans on taking the summer and fall off to spend time with his wife, Maryanne, and their two daughters Justine, 7, and Audra, 3.