Jay McAree

Equinox Staff


Wins speak volumes about a program. It is a concrete way of showing someone what you have accomplished in a single number.

People marvel at them, athletes seek them, and between eight coaches at Keene State College, we have over 3,000 of them.

A perfect blend of longevity and productivity have allowed coaches in KSC athletics to flourish through the years and garner the most wins for their programs in school history.

If you were to make a list, it would look something like this; Softball coach Charlie Beach has 667 wins, with both Ken Howe and  Dr. Ron Butcher for Baseball and Men’s Soccer respectively, peaking over the 500 mark.

Field Hockey coach Amy Watson, Women’s Soccer coach Denise Lyons, and Women’s Basketball coach Keith Boucher are all above 300 wins. Right behind them are Men’s Basketball coach Rob Colbert with 273 wins, and Men’s Lacrosse coach Mark Theriault with 153 of them.

Astounding numbers across the board, especially considering the conference in which KSC plays.

KSC’s Athletic Director John Ratliff said, “I think the Little East Conference is one of the top three conferences in New England.”

He continued, “We’ve been the best program in the Little East for the last twelve years, so if we’re the best program in one of the three best conferences in New England, that sort of tells you where I think we stack up.”

As the A.D., Ratliff is in charge of making sure the coaches have everything they need to reach their potential and tap into the potential of their athletes.

“You know when you look at a coach’s success, when we evaluate coaches, we say are we giving them three things; are we giving them the facilities, are we giving them the budget, and are we giving them the staffing, in order to be successful?” Ratliff said.

One of those successful coaches, Ken Howe, reached the 500 win milestone just this year in his long tenure with his hometown team.

“Like I said before, it means I’m old. I’ve been here a long time. I’ve had a lot of great people that have been involved in the program, both as players, coaches, friends and family.”

Howe continued, “You know it means a lot that I’ve been able to stay here in my hometown and do something I love that you know, has been a dream. I’m still living the dream right now luckily and hopefully it lasts a few more years,” Howe said.

Junior infielder Nick Vita said of Howe, “He’s a great coach, everyone loves him. It’s just he really cares about players and you could tell by being at the field everyday. He shows his love for the game and it really rubs off on a lot of players.”

Howe said he’s been able to keep a strong program running for so long because of how much faith he puts in his assistant coaches.

“I’d love to keep my whole staff here for the rest of my career you know, whether that happens or not who knows.”

Howe added, “They are all good coaches and looking for jobs that obviously pay more than what I am able to pay them and everything else, but you know it’s nice to have a staff that you can rely on in a number of ways.”

Another staple at KSC is Amy Watson.

She’s in her 22nd season at the helm of the field hockey program.

On the caliber of coaches we’ve collected here at Keene State Watson said, “We wouldn’t of stayed if we didn’t enjoy being here. On the other hand it’s a rewarding place to work you know, and we all really seem to love what we are doing and love the athletes and teams we get to work with.”

Over time, coaches can shape their programs and have it reflect their own personalties,

“There’s a culture with my team and my program. It sort of each year just builds on itself.

“I think it’s because I’ve been the coach this entire time, you know the expectations sort of remain the same, and the team comes to expect things, it sort of runs itself,” Watson said.

You’d be sorely mistaken if you thought Keene State’s athletics only soared on the field. The title, “student athlete” certainly applies here.

Ratliff said, “The other thing is the last two years we’ve been the best GPA team in the conference. We are holding the athletic excellence and the academic excellence.”

He continued, “ I think the academic piece is the coaches influence also, and making sure that kids are doing it academically, as well as athletically,” Ratliff said.

If wins speak volumes about a program, KSC must be the loudest in the LEC.


Jay McAree can be reached at


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