---- — After 12 years in Tewksbury Red, Tom Ryan needs a distinct wardrobe change.
The newly-named Methuen High varsity head football coach is hoping he’s not alone.
“One of the first goals is to make sure kids of all ages in Methuen are proud of wearing their own Ranger Blue-and-White,” said an excited Ryan, who was named to the position to succeed two-year interim coach Tom Tone last week.
Ryan, 32, is a native of Rockland, Ma.,who played his college football at Springfield. He has spent a dozen years at Tewksbury Memorial High School, teaching history and assisting in both football and baseball.
Ryan’s contact with Redmen baseball will end immediately as he immerses himself into rebuilding a Ranger program that went 6-16 over the past two fall seasons.
“I escaped Tewksbury (joking, of course), almost reluctantly. It’s tough to leave. They have a great team coming back,” said Ryan, who was Brian Aylward’s defensive coordinator the last seven seasons. “Now, I’m going to have to try and find a way to stop them. Seriously, Methuen is a great opportunity. There’s a certain blue-collar work ethic in town that I like. And I like the toughness of the kids. I see the improvements happening in the building. There’s a lot of upward movement. I see a lot of good times ahead at Methuen High, and I want to be part of it.”
Ryan has just begun attempting to piece a staff together, and he won’t quite pin himself down as to where his focus will be just yet.
He does say Methuen High will run the football again. And they’ll do it by improving up front first.
“We need linemen to push people around, like they had a few years ago. To win, you have to first win on the line of scrimmage,” said Ryan.
He made the decision to not continue coaching baseball with that factor first and foremost leaping to the front.
“I have a pretty good knowledge in weight training. I’ve learned a lot, and I’d love to help other programs at the high school with weight training,” said Ryan.
“I think all the sports need to work together and help each other out. Kids in Methuen can’t play one sport. Any college coach will tell you they’re looking first for multi-sport athletes. They love them. I will reach out to the other sports and hopefully we all can work together.”
A veteran of the Valley wars, Ryan understands the Central Catholic factor and will dedicate himself to keeping the athletes at home.
“You’re always going to lose some athletes to Central, but we need some kids to give Methuen High a chance,” said Ryan. “I think with the improvements at the school, we can make them want to wear the Ranger uniforms with pride.”
MEET TOM RYAN
Day job: Has taught history at Tewksbury High for 12 years.
Rockland High: Three-year starter, captain, and all-Brockton Enterprise selection at Rockland High.
Springfield College: Three-year starter, captained team that reached NCAA Division 3 Elite 8 in 2000.
Has coached 12 seasons as a defensive assistant in football at Tewksbury, serving as Brian Aylward’s defensive coordinator since 2007. Also, has coached 11 seasons in the Redmen baseball program.