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After 41 Seasons, Bromfield Coach Went Out on Top

November 22, 2017 GMT

HARVARD -- When Tom Hill began his long journey as head boys soccer coach at the Bromfield School 41 years ago, he admittedly “didn’t know what I was doing.”

Hill had taken a teaching job at the school and was lined up to be the cross-country coach that fall. But the boys soccer coach was killed in a tragic car accident on the last day of school in May, and the call went out for a replacement.

“I figured soccer would be more fun than cross country,” said Hill. “Plus, I didn’t know much about running either.”

Now, four decades later, he is stepping down -- in style. The Bromfield boys’ soccer team defeated Boston International 3-0 in the MIAA Division 4 state championship game held at Fitchburg State University on Saturday.

Bromfield controlled the game from the outset as junior Charles Pappas scored the first two goals and senior captain John Armstrong got the third and final goal for the Trojans.

It was the ninth state championship victory for the 71-year-old Hill. One of his former players, Alex Horne, who went on to star at Keene State University, will be taking over as head coach next season.

“Alex is perfect,” said Hill. “He’s a great coach and a great guy. He was in charge of our offense this year and we scored 104 goals (in 23 games).”

Bromfield allowed just nine goals.

“It was absolutely a special year,” said Hill. “We had a great group and before the season started they were all very positive. Our captains, Jack Armstrong and Riley Fitzsimmons, led the way. The kids were dedicated.

“It was all about team goals. We had 14 seniors and it was a great team effort.”

Hill had no background in soccer when he took over, but nine state championships speaks for itself. He says he’ll miss it and may return as a volunteer assistant if he’s needed. “It’s been really great. I’m sorry to see it end,” he said.

Hill also coached girls basketball for 35 years and boys hoop for five years at the Harvard public high school. He had high praise for the town’s youth soccer program, which he deemed outstanding.

As for the nine state titles? “Some of them we were fortunate to win, and there were others we could have won,” he said.

This year -- 2017 -- was one they could have, should have and DID win.

Follow Dennis Whitton on Twitter @DAWhitton