EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 1, 2012

Tarbox's 40-year coaching run ending on high note

High School Soccer Christopher Smith
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Bill Tarbox is retiring a proud coach because this year’s North Andover team resembles the typical type of team he has had during his 22 years at the school.

Not only are the players talented but they also have worked hard throughout their careers.

His team won the MVC this fall in its first season in the league and enters the tournament 14-2-2.

“I think every team I’ve had at North Andover follows a similar path because they have high expectations to make it the tournament, to go to the quarterfinals, the semifinals, even the North finals,” Tarbox said. “Not always do you get there. This team of players, I think, has a lot of personal drive. I’ve had many, many other teams with the same characteristics that this team is demonstrating.”

Tarbox has led the Scarlet Knights program to a 297-92-56 record in 22 years. He will retire after the playoffs.

Before being hired at North Andover, Tarbox launched the Greater Lawrence boys program and coached there for 18 years. In all, Tarbox has recorded 419 victories in 40 seasons.

Tarbox’s coaching career has not been limited to high school. He co-launched the summer soccer camp at Phillips Academy and did that for 33 years.

“We started it with one week of a program back in 1977 and we ended up with five weeks of the program when we finished,” Tarbox said. “It was a positive way to promote soccer.

“And then once we stopped doing that, I’ve been running summer programs with my son (Fred) for the past three years,” Tarbox added.

“The bottom line is allowing kids to have the opportunity to be exposed to the game. That’s always been my philosophy.”

He also worked as an instructor for the Mass. Youth Soccer Association for 20 years, teaching courses to help make adults become better soccer coaches.

Additionally, he has been helping out a program launched by Stephanie McArdle called “Beyond Soccer,” which exposes soccer to inner-city youths in Lawrence.

“It really hasn’t been a grind because I’ve been so involved with more than just the high school part,” Tarbox said. “It’s been a great experience for me.”

Tarbox likely will help his son’s program when he is retired. Fred is the head coach for the Haverhill girls varsity program.

The 63-year-old retired from teaching history at Greater Lawrence when he was 58.

He certainly has plenty of things to keep him busy, including his hobby of collecting train sets.

When Tarbox was about 10 years old, his father brought him home a train set from Europe.

“I hung onto it and kept going,” Tarbox said, chuckling.

But right now, Tarbox is focused on one final postseason run with his North Adover program, which he has developed into a local power. Tarbox has taken the Scarlet Knights to the tournament every single year.

“We’ll see what we’re made of when we play teams from other leagues,” Tarbox said. “We don’t have any problems with injuries on our team. So hopefully, we’ll have the fortune of keeping a healthy squad and playing well together as we’ve done during the season. Winning game after game after game — that would be ideal. Finishing my career at North Andover, that’s what I would like to see. But time will tell.”

Not only is he a tremendous coach on the field, but he is off the field, too.

He always calls The Eagle-Tribune after games with in-depth game details and always will provide good story ideas about his players when asked. He is tremendously enthusiastic and wants his players to receive the attention and credit they deserve.

You couldn’t ask for anything more from a high school coach.

Central ready to postseason

Central girls soccer enters the tournament with a 12-0-4 record. They are 2-0-4 in their last six contests.

“Our strength is our competitiveness,” Central coach Casey Grange said. “This team refuses to lose. Any of the four ties could have been losses. (The players are) competitive in practices with each other and during the game they will do anything (to win).”

The Raiders outscored their opponents 49-8.

“We have to come out of the gate stronger: set the tempo earlier,” Grange said.