Salem always has its fair share of talented athletes, and Bouchard said he’s chomping at the bit to work with them.
“I’m always going to put kids in a position to be successful. We’ll run mainly shotgun and multiple formations, but at the end of the day we’re going to use the athletes we have at Salem,” explained Bouchard. “If we have guys who can run between the tackles, we’ll do that. If we have guys who are dynamic, we’ll get ‘em into space and let them do their thing.”
But before Bouchard starts developing his X’s and O’s for Salem, he knows his first and arguably most important task will be surrounding himself with the right kinds of people. He learned from long-time Bishop Fenwick head coach Dave Woods the importance of the supporting staff. “(Having a good assistants) impacts the players tremendously,” said Bouchard.
“(Woods) developed a program that put out high character kids who fight for excellence, and those are things I want to bring to Salem. We want high character guys who strive for excellence whether its on football field or in the classroom.”
For Connolly, it’s a bittersweet departure. This summer he will be taking part in a leadership program to get an administrator’s certificate, one of many steps he’s taking in order to help improve all of Salem High’s athletic programs.
But still, it’s never easy to walk away from a decade of forming relationships and molding young players into high-end football players.
“Ten years ago I was very excited. It was a dream to come back to Salem and give back to a community that is a big reason why I am where I am today, having a college degree and a Masters degree,” explained Connolly.
“The last 10 years coaching football has meant a lot to me. I’ve made relationships with assistant coaches and players. Some players I’ve coached have come back and coached with me. And to watch a lot of them go to college and succeed — that’s what coaching is all about.”