Alex Rotsko said there might be three high school coaching jobs that could have lured him away from Longmeadow High School -- and the job at Marshwood High in South Berwick, Maine, is one of them.
“There's Marshwood, and I can't really think of a second one I would have applied for right now,” Rotsko said Wednesday, when he was introduced as Marshwood's football coach. “They offered me the job and I accepted.”
Rotsko will leave his position as athletic director and head football coach at Longmeadow at the end of the current school year. He guided Longmeadow to 15 Super Bowls (11 Super Bowl victories) in his 19 years as Longmeadow's head coach. His Longmeadow teams were 184-39.
Rotsko will take over a Marshwood program that moved from Class A –- the classification for Maine's largest schools –- to Class B before the 2011 season.
The Marshwood football program has as much tradition as any in Maine. Rod Wotton, who has won more games than any other high school football coach in New England (342), guided the Hawks to a 220-33-1 record and 17 state championships from 1966 to 1992. Marshwood owned a 45-game winning streak in 1987. It was the longest winning streak in the nation at the time.
“I think Rod will be my first phone call,” Rotsko said. “He probably doesn't remember me, but we met on the recruiting trail when I was the coach at AIC. Marshwood always had good players.”
Wotton and Rotsko are practically neighbors in the summer. Wotton lives in York, Maine, where Rotsko and his wife Eleanor own a summer home.
Rotsko, 58, will replace John Caverly as Marshwood's head coach. Caverly, who knows Rotsko from his days as the head coach at East Longmeadow, resigned shortly after the 2011 season ended. Rotsko said he first heard about the Marshwood opening from Caverly.
“John knows that my wife and I spend the summer at York Beach,” Rotsko said. “He told me about it and asked me if it was something I was interested in. I met with them and liked what I saw. As I went through the process I realized there were more and more positives. [Caverly] knew my wife and I would end up in Maine. Sooner rather than later, I guess.”
Longmeadow posted a winning record in 17 of Rotsko's 19 seasons as the program's head coach. The Lancers, who defeated Springfield Central in last year's Western Mass. Division I Super Bowl, were 3-7 in 1993 and 5-5 in 1995.
Marshwood athletic director Rich Buzzell said Rotsko stood out during the interview process.
"His football record speaks for itself,” Buzzell said. "The Marshwood football program has had some really great leaders and I believe Alex will be someone who will lead this program to be the best it can be. I am confident that he will not only make the players better, but he will make the coaches he works with and everyone associated with the Marshwood program better.”
Rotsko said he'll bring the Wing-T offense he used at Longmeadow with him to Marshwood.
“We'll do what we've always done,” he said. “We're a Wing-T team with a lot of multiple formations. Most of the time we're in a one-back set. We've had some success with it. The only year we went away from it we finished with a losing record, so it's a safe bet we won't be doing anything like that again.”
Rotsko said the Marshwood job was also attractive because he has friends and several family members who live near the Maine-New Hampshire border, which is about 15 minutes from Marshwood.
Rotsko met with his Longmeadow players earlier this week to tell them he wouldn't be returning as their coach.
“That was not fun,” he said. “We have probably the best senior class we've ever had returning. I don't want to sound arrogant, but we've gone to 15 Super Bowls. I'm not sure there's anything else for me to prove here.
“Kids are kids, coaching is coaching and football is football. Wins and losses will take care of themselves if you coach the right way. I know I won't have to build a tradition at Marshwood.”