New coach to lead Conard Boys football – We-Ha

Becca Lewis is the first female head coach of the boys’ varsity football team at Conard High School in West Hartford.

By Paul Palmier

There will be several changes this fall when the Conard boys’ varsity football team takes to the field. The team will have a new nickname – the Red Wolves – and perhaps most importantly, a new head coach, who will go down in history.

Becca Lewis, a history teacher at Conard High School in West Hartford and former assistant men’s soccer coach at Hall High School, will replace Adam Linker. Lewis – who brings a family history of coaching and teaching, as well as a strong football pedigree – is the varsity team’s first female head coach.

“As much as I love training with Zeke [Seguro] and the Hall boys, it’s a great opportunity to coach at a school where I teach and to be a head coach,” Lewis said.

Football is in Lewis’s blood. She played at Hall and after graduating in 2010 played four years at Division III Ithaca College where she played in four NCAA tournaments including a Final Four. The goaltender earned a fifth year of eligibility while working on her graduate degree and played that year for CCSU, appearing in a fifth NCAA Tournament.

She has been the JV boys football coach at Hall for the past five seasons and has worked alongside the Seguro boys head coach with the varsity boys team. Additionally, Lewis won a gold medal playing football at the 2015 Maccabi Games and another gold medal as a coach of the youth football team at the 2019 Maccabi Games.

Being the female head coach of a male varsity team can bring its own unique challenges. Lewis says she’s already spoken with her returning players and none of them seem concerned about playing for a woman.

“A lot of these kids know each other. I know the Conard players were texting the Hall kids I was coaching asking me questions,” Lewis said.

After meeting her new team, she says she is already impressed by their maturity. “They see me first as a coach and that really impressed me. When we first met, it wasn’t even a question of playing for a head coach.

Coaching and teaching run deep in the Lewis family. His mother, Bonnie Lewis, was a teacher and the first woman to serve as head coach of a men’s swimming and diving team in Connecticut when she coached the Newington team.

Becca Lewis has also coached Hall’s women’s softball team for the past five years, and her teams have reached the state quarters and semifinals for the past two seasons.

Hall’s coach Becca Lewis and right fielder celebrate with Mollie Reynolds after scoring the game winning run. Hall softball against Fairfield Warde. LL class tournament. June 2, 2021. Photo credit: Paul Palmer (file photo we-ha.com)

“Moving that needle is cool,” Lewis said of his new role as head coach of a men’s team. “To be able to trace that lineage is great.”

Lewis also gives full credit to the coaches she has played for, such as Hall girls football coach Scott Ferguson. “He’s always a phone call away,” she said. She also credits Seguro and her Ithaca coaches, who she says gave her their time and helped her learn the game.

Conard will open by hosting a very tough Glastonbury side on September 8. The first practice will be on August 25, but Lewis is already talking with her returning players to start setting goals for the season.

“A big goal,” Lewis said, “is to put together a state game by finishing among the top 16 men’s teams in the LL class.” Last season, Conard played two tournament games, both on the road.

Lewis calls her team a large group of student-athletes and says she’s very excited…but she admits she may have a few butterflies just before that first game. “If I have butterflies, it tells me I’m doing something that’s close to my heart,” she said. “I always told my players before a game to use that energy on the pitch if they were nervous before the game.”

She also knows that being the first female head coach of the school’s men’s varsity soccer team puts her in a position to help other young girls and women. “If I’m a role model for others after me, I just hope I can live up to that.”

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