The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) football team will have a new coach for the 2017 season. Ryan Kent, MVRHS special education and physical education teacher, was named the new football coach on Monday after Coach Stephen McCarthy resigned.
Mr. McCarthy was hired as coach in February 2016, after Donald Herman concluded his 28-year career as football coach. He announced to the MVRHS staff two weeks ago that he would step aside for personal reasons, according to Mr. Kent.
Mr. Kent, who grew up in Bellingham, has taught special and physical education at the high school for four years, and was the assistant coach for the football team last year, focusing on offensive and defensive line. Mr. Kent played football all four years in high school, and was part of the team that defeated the Vineyard in the 2000 state championships. Mr. Kent went on to play for Wagner College’s Division 1-AA team for a year.
The Vineyard had a tough 2016 season, finishing with a 1-9 record and losing to Nantucket in the Island Cup for the first time in 13 years. Mr. Kent is hopeful about 2017, and is excited to see younger players step up to fill key vacant positions on the team.
“Unfortunately, we had a lot of injuries last year, which put us in a tough spot.” Mr. Kent said. “But it also led us down a line where we got to bring up younger guys. So we had quite a few freshmen and sophomores who got a lot of playing time, which translates into a lot of experience.
“We have a bunch of kids who put in a lot of hard work, time, and effort in the off-season. l’m excited to see how that translates to the field. I have high hopes for quite a few kids, and I’m hoping to have a productive season.”
Mr. Kent said his connection to students as a teacher will strengthen the team and lead to a better football program. He has already spent plenty of time with players training in the off-season.
“I’m the only coach on staff that’s in the school, so I see the kids every day. This past winter I started the MV powerlifting club. We had upwards of 20 kids in the weight room powerlifting through the winter, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time with the kids in the off-season getting ready.”
Mr. Kent has already met with the rest of the coaches, and is planning training for next season. “We will be meeting with players next week to get them up to speed,” he said. “We’re going to be practicing as soon as the governing body [MIAA] allows us.”
“My biggest expectation is putting the idea of playing the game of football, having fun and playing a game, back into the program,” Mr. Kent said.