Bruce Rich Jr. was coaching the girls tennis team at Tyngsboro High when he got some important advice from his father and longtime Chelmsford football, wrestling and softball coach Bruce Rich.
“We were, like, 0-7, and I called my dad up and he said ‘you just got to keep it fun, keep the players interested.’ That’s something that I always remember,” said Rich Jr.
This fall, Rich Jr. will be sure to take that same mentality onto the football field, as he’s been named the new head coach at Westford Academy.
Rich Jr. replaces Pat Gendron as the Grey Ghosts’ head coach. Gendron had led WA for the last four seasons. The team finished the Fall II season at 3-3 this year.
It figures to be a smooth transition for the 35-year-old Rich Jr., who has coached on the Westford football staff for the past 11 seasons and is also the school’s head wrestling coach and a student support teacher at WA.
“It’s a place I want to be,” he said. “When coach Gendron stepped down, I was more than ready and willing to take over.
“We always hope to win a championship, or play for a championship. We’ve got a good core of upperclassmen coming back. Our offensive and defensive lines, the guys in the trenches, are back from last season, so we’ll look to do well running the football. We also just had freshmen sign-ups and we have a good number of freshmen coming up as well.”
Rich Jr. graduated from Chelmsford High in 2004. He played quarterback for his father and helped lead Chelmsford to back-to-back Division 2 Super Bowl appearances.
It’s no surprise that son is following in his father’s coaching footsteps.
“I’ve listened to my dad’s coaching philosophies since I can remember,” said Rich Jr. “But the biggest thing I’ve taken away from my father is his commitment to the players, commitment to winning, and commitment to the town. The amount of time that he puts into his program is second to none.
“We still talk Xs and Os all the time, and how to deal with a discouraged player, or how to motivate a player.”
Keeping it fun will be priority No. 1.
“If the kids are having fun, then you know you’re doing your job right,” said Rich Jr. “If the kids are happy, then the parents are happy and the town is happy. That’s the No. 1 goal. Winning also makes it fun, too.”