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ConVal head coach steps down

After two seasons, Ryan McCartney heads to Phoenix’s Arizona Christian University

ConVal football hosted Souhegan on Friday, Oct. 18. The Cougars lost to the Sabers 34-7.

ConVal football hosted Souhegan on Friday, Oct. 18. The Cougars lost to the Sabers 34-7. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

Ever since he came to ConVal two years ago, head football coach Ryan McCartney’s philosophy has been to build for the future. Get the system in place, instill it early and the results will come, even if it takes a year or two to get there.

Now, it seems that the future of ConVal football will not include McCartney. The second-year coach has resigned, effective immediately, to take an assistant coaching position at Arizona Christian University in Phoenix, Ariz.

“This is a lifelong dream of his to coach at the college level and I understand that dream,” ConVal athletic director Mark Swasey, a longtime college coach himself, said.

McCartney said the decision to leave was a tough one.

“I made the move (to ConVal) thinking that was going to be the final move,” McCartney said. But with family and friends back in Arizona, a shot at coaching at the next level was impossible to turn down.

“It was a difficult choice, but the opportunity to climb the ladder doesn’t come along very often and I had to go for it,” McCartney said. “The worst part is telling your kids, your football players, your managers. They’re having a hard time right now. Some are angry, some are understanding.”

Two years back, McCartney joined a ConVal program that had mustered merely one win apiece in its previous two season; a turnaround seemed in the works, as McCartney’s Cougars went 4-6, coming a blocked extra point shy of a .500 regular season. But ConVal took a step back last year, failing to win a single game and bringing McCartney’s ConVal record to 4-14.

Still, McCartney leaves the program well-positioned for the future.

“(It’s in) much better shape than when I first got here. Numbers are up, things are going in the right direction.”

And with news of a new unified Great Brook/South Meadow unified ConVal middle school team in the works for next season, things are looking up for future numbers – both in the program and on the scoreboard.

The next move for ConVal is to find McCartney’s replacement. The school is forming a search committee this week and plans to open up the search as soon as possible.

“Our goal is to find the best possible candidate for the job,” Swasey said.

One possible candidate is current offensive coordinator Paul Landau.

“Paul Landau has been OC for two years,” McCartney said. “He would be the guy that I would hope his name surface and he gets it because that would be an easy transition for the kids.”

McCartney will finish out the term teaching English.

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