Former Dartmouth High soccer coach honored

Oct 1, 2018

After 31 years, 339 wins, and inspiring hundreds of high school athletes, Mark Poirier knew it was time to step down from his post as head coach of Dartmouth’s varsity girls soccer team.

He officially retired in early September, but was honored for the legacy he created as the high school’s longest-serving varsity coach during the team’s September 27 game against New Bedford.

Poirier began his coaching career in 1976 in Hanover as a boys junior varsity coach. After a year, he became Dartmouth High’s new boys’ junior varsity coach. Ten years later, the school established its inaugural girls team, and Poirier was tapped to lead it.

With few opportunities for sports at the time, many of the girls on his team had never played soccer before, necessitating a lot of work on their fundamentals. The team ended its first season at 1-9-1, but Poirier had big plans for improvement.

By 1989, the team’s record improved to 6-6-3, and, for the first time, a postseason qualification. The Indians qualified for 28 postseason runs out of 29 seasons, and the rest is history.

Poirier retired from teaching in 2010, and after five years of coaching after that, took it on a season-by-season basis on when he was ready to retire.  

“This just seemed like this was the right time to make my exit,” Poirier said.

In 41 years, high school sports have changed quite a bit. Athletes are much more prepared to begin their high school sports career. Back then, recreational leagues were all most kids had access to, but now clinics and camps let athletes of all sports play year-round.

“I end up not spending a lot of time on fundamentals,” Poirier said. “I think that’s the biggest change, is you have more kids with a greater ability to pass, trap, and kick the ball than you did.”

Coaching has changed, too.

“A lot of it [back then] was just thinking about things people had done when I was being coached,” Poirier said. “In the past 15 to 20 years there’s a lot more opportunities to go to clinics, courses that lead to almost like a coaching degree.”

One constant is the wealth of memories that last a lifetime, from team bonding to a few big games.

“You might think it’d be getting into the tournament the first time or going deep in the tournament, but sometimes you remember how far you’ve come,” Poirier said.

One win that stands out is the team’s win against Falmouth in the early 2000s. The 1987 team lost to Falmouth 7-0 in one of its earliest games, and struggled with the team for 20 more years before finally defeating them.

As for the future, Poirier is still attending Indians games, despite being a native of Carver. He has attended four so far this season. Scot Boudria took over as Head Coach earlier in the season. He was the team’s junior varsity coach for 25 years.

“Scot knows a lot about soccer,” Poirier said.