By Tim Lima
---- — AMESBURY – After 12 seasons leading Amesbury football, Thom Connors announced to his team shortly before Thanksgiving that the game against Newburyport would be his last as a head coach.
Connors served as Amesbury’s head football and basketball coach in a 12-year coaching career that concluded in Thursday’s loss to the Clippers.
In a brief memo released by Amesbury High School before Thanksgiving, Connors is praised for his addition to Amesbury athletics that spanned for over a decade.
“Thom served as the basketball coach for 12 years, most recently guiding the team to a state tournament berth last winter,” the release reads. “As the head of the football program, Amesbury won three (Cape Ann League) titles and claimed a Division 4 state title in 2008.”
Despite leaving his coaching positions, Connors will remain as Amesbury High School’s physical education teacher.
The memo went on to say that Connors is thanked for his “dedication and commitment to the students and athletes of Amesbury.”
Connors’ coaching career at Amesbury was not always laden with championship wins and tournament seeds, though. His tenure on the sidelines has come with its fair share of criticism, primarily in a very public dispute between himself and a parent of a player in the basketball program. Though several accusations by and against Connors never resulted in disciplinary action against the coach, the negativity that was created as a result had people questioning his methods. Also, 10 losing seasons in his first 10 years as the basketball coach had people questioning his coaching abilities.
Connors is stepping down following his fourth four-win football season since 2009. The now former Amesbury head coach enjoyed successful seasons in 2008 and 2012 when his team’s went 12-1 and 9-3, respectively.
Amesbury basketball earned a spot in the state tournament for the first time under Connors last season, and did so with a 9-9 record before falling in the first round.
Connors’ son, Tommy, played football for his father and graduated last year. Tommy played football for Endicott College this year but, as only a freshman, did not receive much playing time. Leaving Amesbury football along with its coach this year are senior quarterback Mac Short and senior running back Ben Cullen, both of whom marked the end of their respective high school careers with yesterday’s loss.
Head coaching replacements for both sports have not yet been made public. Several attempts to reach Connors were unanswered.