Coach Dale Olmsted has preached to his Millis/Hopedale football players over the last five seasons to never pass up an opportunity for success. He had to follow his own advice by accepting the head coaching position at Nichols College Tuesday.
“I never thought I would get to this point,” said Olmsted. “It’s a lot of coaches’ dream to get to this level.”
The Globe's 2011 Division 4 Coach of the Year will have the tall task of turning around a program that went 1-8 this season. However, he proved he could rebuild a team with his work at Millis/Hopedale.
Before the coach came to Millis in 2005, the team had registered only three wins in its previous three seasons. After proposing that Millis merge with Hopedale in 2009, he went through two sub-.500 seasons before a breakout 10-1 season in 2011. That earned Millis/Hopedale the Tri-Valley Small School Division title and a state playoff berth. This season marked the third year in a row Millis/Hopedale made the playoffs.
Nichols director of athletics Charlyn Robert said she is excited for Olmsted to join the staff and admires the vision he showed in proposing the merger between Millis and Hopedale.
“He’s had opportunities to grow passion for the game of football among players at the high school level,” Robert said. “We’re excited to have him come aboard.”
The former college safety (Salem College and West Liberty State in West Virginia) has been the recipient of multiple coaching awards during his 21 years of coaching Massachusetts football, including two Tri-Valley County Small “Coach of the Year” awards (2011-12) and the New England Patriots “Coach of the Week” award in Week 3 of the 2008 season.
“I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get the program to where it is now,” said Olmsted, whose team is preparing for a Thanksgiving game against rival Medway that will cap off a 7-3 season. “To let it go is a little bittersweet.”
Olmsted described Tuesday as one of the harder days in his coaching career, as he announced to his players that he had accepted the job. However, he is up for the challenge that awaits him in Dudley.
One of Nichols’s biggest problem areas was defense, as it let up an average of 44 points per game this season. Olmsted said that by building on a foundation of trust between players and coaches, change would come.
“They have a lot of academic success at Nichols and they just want the same for their athletic department,” Olmsted said. “So I’m ready to roll up the sleeves and get to work.”
He is looking forward to stepping onto Vendetti Field at Nichols, but for now Olmsted is still focused on his last game with Millis/Hopedale.
“It’s always been about the school, program, and seniors,” he said. “That’s how it’s going to be on Thanksgiving.”
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