Basketball Legends in the Making at LHS
If you follow athletics, particularly the sport of
basketball, this story will have you shaking your head.
This past January, Lebanon girls hoop coach Tim Kehoe watched his team demolish Plymouth by a 55-14 score. That victory gave the personable mentor his incredible 500th career win; all of those achieved beside the bench with the Raiders. That feat alone is an astronomical accomplishment considering the high turnover rate among coaches these days in any sport.
Not to be outdone or left out of the excitement, Lebanon boys basketball coach, Keith Matte, started off the season with a win over Merrimack Valley and that registered 300 wins in his outstanding career. As with Tim Kehoe, all 300 of those wins came with the Lebanon Raiders. Do the math and you have a combined record to be reckoned with—800 total wins!
In the understatement of the century, Kehoe was the first to address his good fortune with a wide smile spread across his face.
“Both Keith and I have been very fortunate to be here at Lebanon. This is a basketball town for sure. We’ve been lucky to be part of the overall basketball process at this school,” Kehoe said.
Both coaches were quick to point out that another coaching legend at Lebanon paved the way for all the hoop success. The late Lang Metcalf holds the school record, with 507 wins. Metcalf became an icon in the Granite State with his famous handle bar mustache, maroon towel draped around his neck, and stern expression backed up by barking out orders to his players (and officials). Once the final buzzer sounded, his demeanor changed drastically. Huge smile and soft spoken. He was one-of-a-kind.
“The town of Lebanon has a huge passion for basketball,” said Matte. “Even though I was taking over the coaching position from Lang, he was very kind to me and helped me tremendously. I have always had outstanding people around me here at Lebanon and excellent assistant coaches. It really says something about the hoop program here when you consider that Lebanon boys have only had two head coaches in 56 years!”
The two coaches attribute their success to other factors that set their respective programs apart.
Matte wears the coat and tie while serving as Assistant Principal at Lebanon High, while Kehoe shows up for work as a Physical Education Teacher dressed in a more casual manner. They both feel that being an intricate part of the school’s staff where they have daily contact has been a major factor to all the winning basketball.
“It has been very helpful to work side-by-side with Keith,” said Kehoe. “Being together here at the school we spend a lot of time talking hoop. I think our presence on a daily basis makes a huge difference with the student/athletes as well. We are both fortunate there. Lebanon simply produces outstanding student/athletes.”
Both coaches agreed on another key factor in Lebanon’s basketball glory. They play in Division II and are the smallest school in that division.
“We have to travel excessive distances to play in our division and yet we are the smallest school. That’s a tribute to all our players as well,” Kehoe said.