Quartet to lead Eagle football team forward

BRISTOL — After 15 years with the Mount Abraham Union High School football program, almost seven years as its head coach, Ernie Senecal resigned this past week.
Both Senecal and Mount Abe Co-Athletic Director Jeff Stetson cited “personal reasons.” But Senecal acknowledged that some of those reasons came because of “some of the things that have been said about me,” citing complaints about his leadership and treatment of some athletes, complaints that he said were unfair.
“I’m not happy with the way some things went, some of the external things,” Senecal said, adding, “I’ve been subject to some things that just aren’t true and are blown out of proportion.”
In an email, Stetson wrote, “Ernie Senecal has resigned effective Friday Oct. 10th for personal reasons. (Assistant coaches) Mike Crane, Lee Hodsden, Matt Senecal and Eric Hartman will divide the coaching responsibilities for the remainder of this season. I will communicate the coaching structure next week as we move forward.”
That quartet led the 4-3 Eagles on Saturday when visiting Mill River (5-2) left town with a 32-30 Division III victory.
The Eagles hosted playoff games in each of the past two seasons, winning in 2012 to reach the D-III semifinals, but losing a home quarterfinal in 2013. They will make the D-III postseason this year with at least a .500 record, but will not host a game.
Before assuming head coaching duties seven seasons ago, Senecal assisted former head coach Bill Leggett for eight years. Their teams won two D-IV titles when the Eagles played eight-man football.
Senecal said he has also helped coordinate Bristol’s youth football program for the past 15 years, and before that coached youth sports for 15 years.
“I’ve spent the last 30 years doing stuff for this community,” he said.
But this season Senecal said he was unhappy dealing with what he described as “external and petty stuff.” He declined to say more on the record, other than saying “no captains came to me” to discuss issues on the team.
“I just don’t want to deal with it any more,” Senecal said.
He said he would step away entirely from coaching for a while and will not assist Mount Abe’s basketball program this winter.
Senecal said he would not rule out getting back into coaching at some point, but maybe as an assistant football coach, not as a head coach.
He described his decision as bittersweet.
“It’s not the way I envisioned going out,” Senecal said. “There’re kids on that team I think a great deal of.”

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