LYNNFIELD — New Lynnfield High School football coach Pat Lamusta has been counting down the days left until the start of the new season, his first at the helm of the Pioneers. With a week remaining before the start of preseason practices and tryouts, Lamusta’s ready to get started in his new role at Lynnfield.
“There’s a mood of excitement and anticipation,” Lamusta said. “The players were in limbo in March and April while they were doing the coaching search. There was a bit of uncertainty. I’m seeing a cohesive group on all levels. The sophomores are gelling with the seniors, the freshmen are buying in. This group’s very much together. They’re excited. We want to prove we can continue the winning tradition despite the changes in the coaching staff.”
Lamusta was named the new Lynnfield head football coach in May, taking over for former head coach Neal Weidman, who stepped down in March after 10 seasons with the Pioneers. Prior to stepping into the coaching realm, Lamusta played football at Lynnfield (2004-2007) and Framingham State (2010-2013) as an outside linebacker/fullback. He currently teaches history at Lynnfield High. Lamusta spent four seasons (2014-2017) as an assistant on Weidman’s staff.
Lamusta credited Weidman for building a winning culture within the program.
“There’s a winning culture, there’s a winning tradition,” Lamusta said. “That’s much different from when I played. The program was struggling when I played. When I came back to coach, things had changed. Neal did a great job building a strength and conditioning program. The numbers were high. The kids were really committed, even the multi-sport athletes were committed to football. There’s a tradition of guys being committed to football, even in the offseason.”
That tradition of offseason commitment has carried over to this year. The Pioneers have prepared for the upcoming fall season by taking part in a handful of 7v7 tournaments along with strength and conditioning programs.
“We have our regular workouts throughout the summer,” Weidman said. “We were in two 7v7 tournaments. We went to one hosted by Endicott in June and we went to one at St. John’s Prep in July. We were also in a passing league Tuesday nights with tough teams like Andover and Billerica. We had a good combination of strength and conditioning and 7v7 leagues for the skill position kids.”
Among those who’ve left a solid early impression on Lamusta are seniors Hunter Lane, Cole Moretti and Leo Quinn, and junior John Lee.
Lamusta said the administration aspect of being a head coach has created a bit of learning curve for him but the time he spent shadowing Weidman has helped in making adjustments.
“I think as an assistant you don’t really see much of the administrative side of being a head coach so that was surprising,” Lamusta said. “But I worked closely with Weidman so I was involved on the day-to-day stuff and the offseason. I had an idea of what the time commitment was like. Now it’s nice because I can take that experience and put my own spin on it.”
Joining Lamusta on his coaching staff are John O’Brien (Lynnfield’s baseball coach), Ted Flaherty, Jeff Gannon, Steve Mondello, Ryan Sheehan and Frank Cammisa.
“I think the first year you do anything, you get nervous and worry about things,” Lamusta said. “I’m very fortunate to have an experienced coaching staff. It’s a 50 percent returning coaching staff and 50 percent new. There’s a lot of experience on the staff. Coach John O’Brien has been our defensive coordinator for the past seven years, he’s my right-hand man.
“It’s a good staff,” Lamusta said. “I’m lucky. One of the toughest parts of ironing this all together was just putting the staff together and making sure I had all the parts in place. That was one of the tougher parts of this process.”
The Pioneers begin preseason practices August 17 at 3:30.