Wolverine notes: BA names new head football coach

SP 17 bobby erhardt

Bobby Erhardt

Bridgton Academy has named Bobby Erhardt as the school’s new head football coach. He joins a program that has already seen several members of the Class of 2014 commit to NCAA Division I football programs and is aggressively recruiting the Class of 2015.

“I’m extremely excited to get started,” said Coach Erhardt. “I’m looking forward to this challenge. For someone who grew up in New England, prep school is like the Red Sox — everyone knows about them — and I'm really excited for this tremendous opportunity at BA.”

After an extensive nationwide search and several candidate visits to North Bridgton, Coach Erhardt was chosen to head BA’s football program.

“Bobby Erhardt is a leader who possesses the talent to maximize the value of BA football,” said BA Headmaster Grady Vigneau. “He is a master relationship-builder who truly believes in and cares about the young men with whom he works. Furthermore, Coach Erhardt’s expansive portfolio of coaching and teaching combined with his college network affords our student-athletes an amazing array of opportunities.”

A Chicopee, Mass. native, Bobby traveled from Michigan back to New England last week to begin his career at BA on Friday, March 28. His wife, Sandy, and his children, will join him on campus, likely after the conclusion of the current school year.

“I’m already gearing up, getting my contacts sorted and getting ready to recruit,” said Erhardt. “I can’t wait to get started!”

Coach Erhardt was previously an assistant coach and running backs/special teams coach at Western Michigan. Prior to joining the Broncos’ program, he spent two seasons at his alma mater, Westfield State University, where he served as the special teams coordinator and offensive line coach.  He began his coaching career in the state of Michigan, serving as the inside linebacker coach at Saginaw Valley State in 1988, recruiting in the metro Detroit area.

Erhardt continued his winning ways with his second position as the linebacker coach at Cornell during the Big Red’s run to the 1990 Ivy League championship.

After a two-year stint at UMass, Erhardt spent a pair of seasons at Penn State (1993-94), helping the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten championship and 1995 Rose Bowl title, serving as a graduate assistant for the offensive line.

Erhardt has served as the defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Buffalo (1995-98), defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Oberlin College (1999-2000), director of football operations at Rutgers (2001-03), where he worked with WMU head coach Bill Cubit, and as the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach at Holy Cross (2004).

He graduated from Westfield State in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications.

Student Group Travels to Gettysburg

Last week, the Bridgton Academy Gettysburg tradition continued as Mr. Meserve, Mrs. Cole and Mr. Mastro led a group of 15 Wolverines and four mini-Wolverines to Pennsylvania.

Thursday began with a pre-dawn departure and a 12-hour van ride. Shortly after arrival in Gettysburg, the Wolverines explored McPherson’s Ridge, Reynolds’ Woods, Railroad Cut and Oak Hill. After dark, the group returned to the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment on Oak Hill to pay their respect to “Sallie the Dog.” After July 1, 1862, Sallie remained on the battlefield to protect the dead and dying soldiers from her regiment. Many paranormal investigators, and apparently some BA students, feel the dead soldiers haunting Oak Hill are still there protecting Sallie. It is tradition to leave a dog biscuit or two at the monument to show the ghost soldiers you’re honoring their brave canine.

“Mr. Meserve really knows a lot of Gettysburg — not just the history, but the people who were here and what they went through,” student Sean Mack said.

After a night’s rest at the Quality Inn — Lee’s Headquarters — Friday was one of the most enjoyable days as the group “attacked” Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, Rose Farm and the Wheatfield areas.  BA also visited the two positions of the 9th Massachusetts heavy artillery, where Charles Dodge, born and raised in Bridgton, was killed firing his artillery piece on July 2, 1863. Interestingly, after his death, his remains were transported back to Bridgton for burial. The group also spent time walking among the 6,000 graves at the Gettysburg National Cemetery, where President Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address.

After watching sunset from Little Round Top, the Wolverines headed to downtown Gettysburg for the “Ghost of Gettysburg” Tour. The two-hour tour followed Carlyle Street to the campus of Gettysburg College. As the tour guide led them around, the group expressed a wide range of emotions from delight to pure terror.

Student Malik Lee offered his reaction, “I think the ghost tour was one of the best parts of the trip. I was a little nervous during some stories. It was really eerie when Mr. Mastro’s camera wouldn’t work in some haunted areas.”

The last day at Gettysburg, the group toured the many sites related to Pickett’s Charge, including both the Confederate and Union Positions during the final phase of the battle. Other highlight stops included the regimental monument of the 1st Minnesota, the Pennsylvania State Monument, The Corpse of Trees, and the Highwater Mark.

Finally after some time downtown, the group visited one of the most haunted spots of Gettysburg, Sach’s Bridge.  Located west of the Confederate positions, Sach’s Bridge is the location of possible graves, and the site of alleged hangings. In the dark, the group explored the bridge, taking many photos and speaking with a paranormal research team at the site.

“I’m not going to say anyone was scared, but there were some individuals very happy to return to the vehicles after a few of the ‘ghost orbs’ showed up in photographs,” commented Mr. Mastro.

Alumnus Enters Gubernatorial Race

Last month, Bridgton Academy alumnus Mark Lauretti, ’73, officially joined the Connecticut gubernatorial race — campaigning for the top spot on the Republican ticket in the upcoming November election for governor.

Lauretti has served as the mayor of Shelton, Conn. for 12 terms. According to his website, “during Mayor Lauretti’s time in office, Shelton has been proud to boast an unprecedented period of economic growth and earned national recognition for its boomtown image. Companies of all sizes from a diverse set of industries continue to locate in Shelton providing a benchmark for economic development that has received statewide recognition.”

Mayor Lauretti focused much of his energy on numerous city infrastructure projects and the rebirth of development in the downtown area. As mayor, he managed to continually balance a nine-figure budget while keeping property taxes stable and low while increasing funding to education.

Mayor Lauretti is also a leader of many groups and organizations including chairman of the Metropolitan Planning Organization in Bridgeport, secretary/treasurer of the Valley Council of Governments, president of the Board of Directors for the State Nutmeg Games, former member of the Board of Directors of Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority (CRRA), an executive board member of the Housatonic Council of Boy Scouts of America, member of the Fairfield County Sports Commission and chairman of The Valley Transit District.

Lauretti has been a successful business owner and real estate developer for decades. He received an undergraduate degree in Pre-Environmental Zoology from Ohio University and a master’s degree in Science Education from Syracuse University. A natural athlete, in 1979 he played in a professional basketball league in Bologna, Italy.

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