Recorder: "Greenfield football coach Mike Kuchieski to be inducted into the Mass. Coaches Association Hall of Fame"

gps in the news banner 8

Greenfield football coach Mike Kuchieski to be inducted into the Mass. Coaches Association Hall of Fame

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 1/14/2023 12:01:44 PM

Modified: 1/14/2023 12:00:38 PM

Greenfield athletic director and football coach Mike Kuchieski was sitting on a Zoom call with the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association when he thought he heard his name mentioned.

Confused, he figured he might have just misheard. He hadn’t, as his name was brought up when the committee was mentioning coaches from around the state who had been nominated for the Association’s Hall of Fame.

Kuchieski got the official call on Thursday, when Sandy Ruggles, chair of the Hall of Fame committee, called him to let him know he was one of six coaches selected as part of this year’s class.

Kuchieski will be part of a group that includes longtime Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson, former Barnstable coach Spanky Demache, former Wilmington and current Stoneham coach Bob Almeida, Bridgewater-Raynham coach Dan Buron and Groton coach Jamie Lamoreaux. Details on the induction have yet to be provided.

“It was pretty surprising,” Kuchieski said. “Sandy — who I’ve known for a long time — called me and told me the news and I was stunned. You never feel worthy for something like this. It’s a great honor to joining some legendary coaches in the Hall of Fame. Some of the guys going in this year are legends, too. You look at the list of coaches and I don’t believe that I’m well deserving. It’s a great honor.”

Kuchieski’s coaching career began in 1988, coaching at Wagner College and Upsala College before taking the varsity football coaching job at Athol in 1991. He spent nine years at Athol, winning 54 games, before moving to Florida, where he coached in the Sunshine State for four years.

In 2004 Kuchieski returned to New England, taking the varsity football job at his alma mater, Greenfield. He’s been there ever since, racking up 83 wins with the Green Wave. Kuchieski’s 137 career wins with Athol and Greenfield put him near the top of the leaderboard among Franklin County coaches, where he sits fifth all time. Former Green Wave coach Mike Duprey is in fourth place with 164 wins.

 

It’s not about the coaching record for Kuchieski, who said he hopes that he’s been able to make an impact for the better on the lives of the players he has coached.

“We don’t coach for the wins and losses,” Kuchieski said. “We coach to create young men and women and create memories for them. You try to create great people. Most of these kids won’t go on to play college football. We want to create great people in the community. That’s our No. 1 goal.

“I tell the kids every year that I want them to remember where they came from and to learn all the little things in life that will make you a great person,” he continued. “Those are the things I care about and what we want to hear about when they come back to visit. We coach for those reasons.”

Kuchieski oversaw the transition in Franklin County football that ultimately led to the 2020 cooperative program between Greenfield, Turners, Mohawk Trail and Pioneer. The results on the field have shown early, with the Green Wave reaching the MIAA Div. 7 state tournament in 2021.

He said he is grateful to have always had the support of administration as well as great coaches around him.

“We’ve done a pretty good job of getting everyone together and merging a couple schools together,” Kuchieski said. “I wouldn’t be where I am without the support of administration that I’ve had at both Athol and Greenfield. I also wouldn’t be where I am without my great assistant coaches. A head coach is only as good as his assistants and I’ve been lucky to have a lot of great assistants. We’ve always had a lot of fun and had some great guys who put in the effort to put the best product on the field. I’ve had Hall of Fame assistant coaches since I’ve been at Athol. It’s been a nice run.”

Kuchieski also thanked the players who have played for him, saying he’s enjoyed getting to hear from them since the Hall of Fame announcement.

“I’ve had a lot of texts and been very appreciative of them,” Kuchieski said. “You never feel you’re deserving. Hearing from people you haven’t heard from in awhile makes it all the more special.”

The longtime coach also thanked his family for their support throughout the years, saying he wouldn’t have been able to get to where he is without them.

“I’m humbled,” Kuchieski said. “It’s one of those things you never think will happen to you. I can’t thank people enough for their support over the years, especially from my family. They’ve been there throughout all of it. It’s just as hard on them as it is me with the hours and things like that. It’s been huge to have the support of my wife and kids. I wouldn’t be able to do this without them.”

Kuchieski graduated from Greenfield High School 1984 and continued on playing at Springfield College prior to his coaching career.