H.S. Football: Josh Talbot hired as Athol’s new head coach

  • A design of the new logo and mascot at Athol High School.

  • Athol baseball coach Josh Talbot chats during a mound visit with catcher Kris Selanis and pitcher Nick Bousquet during season-opening action against Turners Falls in 2018. Talbot was named the new head football coach at his alma mater this week. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/19/2022 5:21:33 PM
Modified: 1/19/2022 5:20:28 PM

There’s a new head football coach in Athol.

Josh Talbot was announced as the new varsity coach for the Bears this week, and he’ll take over for Bill LaRose who resigned at the end of the 2021 season after eight years as head coach.

“It’s really exciting,” Talbot said. “It’s a great opportunity. My high school coaching career started in football. It’s been a long time coming. I’m thrilled for the opportunity and to try to re-establish Athol football.”

Football isn't the only sport Talbot will be coaching at Athol. He is currently the varsity baseball coach and also coaches winter indoor track, in addition to teaching in the English department at Athol High School.

“I have a great relationship with our student body and most of our staff at Athol,” Talbot said. “I’ve built a relationship with so many of our students and I’ve made great relationships inside the walls at the school. I hope to bring them over to athletics.”

Talbot graduated from Athol in 2003, playing on the line of scrimmage during his time with the program.

After several rounds of interviews, Athol athletic director Dan Bevis felt Talbot was the right man for the job.

“I’m excited for him and this opportunity he has,” Bevis said. “It was a good process. We had several committee members involved and went through several round of interviews. We took our time and tried to value what we were looking for in a coach specific for this program. We did our due diligence on that aspect.

“We’re excited to get him going,” he continued. “Josh has an understanding of our kids. Aside from coaching, he’s one of our valued teachers in the building. He’s someone that other teachers go to for advice. We see a lot of coaching in that aspect and that is important. His ability to develop relationships with his athletes helps push them to be better students and better athletes. That was something we looked long and hard at to make sure that we found a coach that fit that. Josh has a lot of pride for the school and the community of Athol.” 

The Bears went 4-7 a year ago, with a pair of wins over rival Mahar, including a 52-12 win on Turkey Day.

Talbot also enters with familiarity about the Intercounty League North. Greenfield head coach Mike Kuchieski was his coach at Athol his freshman year, he played for and later coached with Franklin Tech coach Joe Gamache, and also has familiarity with the Mahar staff.

He’s looking forward to the opportunity to compete against them.

“I’ve got to see how a lot of them coach and how they built their cultures,” Talbot said. “It’ll be fun to compete with the people who had an impact on my life.”

The top priority for Talbot is building a culture that the community can be proud of. He also is hoping to bring numbers up within the program, a problem that has plagued the Bears in years past. 

“I’ve given most of my adult life to this town and school,” Talbot said. “I’m most excited about the culture aspect of the job. I’m really excited to see how we’re able to use football to get our kids to be better people and more involved with our school and community. Kids value the high school football experience more than any other sport. It has that unifying factor to it.” 


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