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Maynard’s memory a constant with Hopkinton lacrosse team

  • A Hopkinton lacrosse helmet with the initials of coach Doug Maynard (DSM) lays on the wet grass at half time at a game against Pembroke on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Pembroke Academy.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    A Hopkinton lacrosse helmet with the initials of coach Doug Maynard (DSM) lays on the wet grass at half time at a game against Pembroke on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Pembroke Academy.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Hopkinton goalie Matt French (right) keeps his attention to the action at a game against Pembroke on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Pembroke Academy.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Hopkinton goalie Matt French (right) keeps his attention to the action at a game against Pembroke on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Pembroke Academy.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Hopkinton's Prince Mansah (center) helps get the team pumped up at a game against Pembroke on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Pembroke Academy.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Hopkinton's Prince Mansah (center) helps get the team pumped up at a game against Pembroke on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Pembroke Academy.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Coach Mike Couture (right) and the team talk about strategy at half-time at a game against Pembroke on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Pembroke Academy.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Coach Mike Couture (right) and the team talk about strategy at half-time at a game against Pembroke on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Pembroke Academy.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • A Hopkinton lacrosse helmet with the initials of coach Doug Maynard (DSM) lays on the wet grass at half time at a game against Pembroke on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Pembroke Academy.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Hopkinton goalie Matt French (right) keeps his attention to the action at a game against Pembroke on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Pembroke Academy.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Hopkinton's Prince Mansah (center) helps get the team pumped up at a game against Pembroke on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Pembroke Academy.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Coach Mike Couture (right) and the team talk about strategy at half-time at a game against Pembroke on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Pembroke Academy.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

Before every home game, the Hopkinton High boys’ lacrosse team pauses for a moment of silence to honor its former coach, Doug Maynard. The silence lasts for about 30 seconds, but Maynard’s memory has been a constant presence for the Hawks this season.

“He’s always in the back of our minds,” Hopkinton senior Matt French said.

Maynard unexpectedly died last Nov. 1 from a heart attack at the age of 65. He was one of the founders of the Hopkinton lacrosse program and the head coach for the boys’ team from 2007-2013. And he is missed.

“I think everybody feels his absence,” Hopkinton Athletic Director Dan Meserve said. “I think the kids have struggled at times. Doug brought so much to the table and some of the kids are really only now appreciating all he did.”

Maynard guided the Hawks to a 17-1 record last year, the only loss coming in the Division III championship game. They lost several talented seniors from that team, so a drop-off this season was expected, and the Hawks are 6-6 with two regular-season games remaining. But there’s little doubt the loss of Maynard also has contributed to that decline.

“He was always excited and positive, and his attitude was contagious,” French said. “He created a really fun environment to play lacrosse in, and it reflected in how our team played, and I feel like that’s missing a little bit this year. I don’t know whose fault that is, if it’s anyone’s fault. It’s just the way it is.”

Maynard wasn’t just enthusiastic about lacrosse, he knew the game inside and out. He was an All-America midfielder at Wesleyan University and played the game his entire adult life. But like Meserve said, Maynard brought “so much to the table,” and much of that had nothing to do with lacrosse.

“As a parent, you’d always want your kids to have a coach like Doug Maynard,” said Pete Mosseau, whose sons Nate and Bennett both played for Maynard. “It wasn’t always about lacrosse with him. He was an economist and historian, he was a world events guy and a traveler. He would talk to these kids about everything. He would ask about their college plans or what they thought about the presidential race or anything that was going on in the world or their lives. He was a phenomenal lacrosse coach, and he was an even better mentor.”

“He had a big influence on me outside of lacrosse, just the way he lived his life,” French said. “He always came to practice happy no matter what was going on in his life, and I tried to do that myself and I know a few of the other kids tried to do the same. It affected my personality and who I want to be as a person.”

While no one could truly replace Maynard at Hopkinton, Meserve wanted to find a new coach who “had an understanding of what Doug stood for.” He believes he found just that in Mike Couture, who was the boys’ lacrosse coach at Trinity for four years before taking over at Hopkinton this season.

Couture spent time with Maynard at coaches meetings. He respected Maynard’s coaching philosophies and nominated him for the 2013 Coach of the Year Award, which Maynard won. Couture was thrilled to take over a program that had been as well cared for as the one in Hopkinton, but he was also anxious.

“Honestly, I was very nervous about filling Coach Maynard’s shoes,” Couture said. “I knew I was taking over for one of the icons of New Hampshire lacrosse.”

Knowing that, Couture has tried to maintain continuity with the program’s past. That continuity is symbolized by stickers with Maynard’s initials, DSM, that the Hawks wear on their helmets. Those initials are also embroidered on the sleeves of their shooter shirts.

It was Couture who instituted the pregame moment of silence, which is often followed by some kind remembrances of Maynard from the referees. And the new coach welcomed back two players from last year’s team, Bennett Mosseau and Austin Cowan. The two joined Couture’s coaching staff as assistants after they returned from college even though they never played for Couture.

“By bringing those kids in and by recognizing Coach, I think it made the transition, which is a hard thing, a little bit easier,” Couture said.

Chances are none of Maynard’s former players will forget him. But now future Hopkinton lacrosse players will also know his name. The lacrosse team’s home field, one of four fields located behind the town library, will be renamed Maynard Field.

The site will be marked with a granite block and plaque that includes Maynard’s career record at Hopkinton (80-32) and one of his favorite sayings, “Do More Than Your Share.” That was the theme of the pregame speech Maynard gave to his team before they won the 2011 D-III title.

“I had just brought the team some Popsicles so I was standing there listening to him tell the kids to do more than their share and I’m thinking that I can’t even get my kid to do his chores and he’s preaching this? This is never going to work,” Pete Mosseau said. “But the kids bought into it, and at the reception after his funeral, all these kids from all these years talked about that and what a great message it was. He was a remarkable guy.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341 or tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20.)

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