SAUGUS — The search for a new football coach at Saugus High has come to a close. Former Wakefield High coach Steve Cummings has been appointed as the new head coach of the Sachems.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” Cummings, who resides in Wakefield, said. “I spent the past season as the defensive coordinator at Haverhill. I told the coach there that I wasn’t looking to make a lateral move but if an opportunity as a head coach opened up I might go for it. I look at Saugus as a place that has a lot of opportunity for growth. When I got the call that I was the guy they wanted to go with moving forward, I was thrilled.
“I’m thrilled to be the guy they trust their program with,” Cummings said. “I’m looking forward to showing the people of Saugus the kind of program we can have here.”
A Marshfield native, Cummings played three years of varsity football at Marshfield High for Lou Silva. He graduated from Framingham State in 2000 with a degree in sociology and played left tackle for the school’s football team. He started coaching in 2001, as a graduate assistant at Framingham State. Cummings has coached at Canton, Sharon, Wakefield and, most recently, Haverhill. His first stint as a head coach took place at Wakefield from 2015-2017.
Cummings is the fourth head coach at Saugus in as many years. Former longtime Sachems coach Mike Broderick stepped down after the 2016 season and is now an assistant at Curry College. Anthony Nalen coached the team in 2017 and Mike Mabee coached on an interim basis for the 2018 season.
“When I first got the job I met with our four senior captains,” Cummings said. “I understand I’m the fourth guy in as many years. That’s not average. I want to make sure that I try to build some trust with the kids as best as I can, because they’ve had so much turnover. My goal is to be here and be here for a long time. I want to be here until I’m done coaching. I want the kids to be excited about having a new opportunity.”
Cummings takes over a Saugus team that has plenty to look forward to going into the 2019 season. The Sachems qualified for the Division 5 North state tournament after a 2-5 regular season as the No. 6 seed. They defeated No. 3 Weston in the first round (27-6) before falling to No. 2 Amesbury in the sectional semifinal (20-0). Saugus returns three of its offensive leaders in quarterback Mason Nickolas, running back Marvens Jean and receiver Christian Correia.
Jean, Correia, lineman Zack Kesbia and linebacker/tight end/receiver Bruno Auzec will co-captain next season’s team.
“We have some guys,” Cummings said. “Anytime you have a quarterback returning that’s huge. We’ll be running a little bit of a different system than they did last year. You can’t replace the varsity minutes these guys got last year. It’s good to have guys that have experience playing under the lights.
“We’ll be new in terms of a coaching staff but there are going to be a lot of kids returning out on the field,” Cummings said. “That’s a good place to start.”
Cummings said his goal is to put his players and coaches in the best position to succeed.
“The big thing is for the kids to understand that everything we do has a purpose to it,” Cummings said. “You have to pay attention to the small details. Little things make big things happen. The score will take care of itself. If you focus play to play, that’ll put you in a better spot to be successful. I want to put guys in position to be successful, that goes for both the players and coaches.”
Although he’s new to the Northeastern Conference, Cummings knows the Sachems will pushed to the brink each week.
“I’m expecting it to be tough week in and week out but that’s the beauty of a league like this,” Cummings said. “Everyone’s tough. Our schedule this year’s tough to bottom. It’s kind of like playing playoff-quality football very week.
“Overall I’m happy with the quality of the NEC,” Cummings said. “It’s a league that has postseason success every year and there’s no secret behind it. You’ll be tested every week and that’s the way we want it.”