April 17, 2008
By Mal Boright
“I’m being recycled,” chuckled Jim Provost during a Sunday conversation after the announcement that he has been named the new head football coach at Champlain Valley Union High School.
The Williston resident was the head football coach at Rice Memorial High for 14 years before hanging up the clipboard in 1999. Provost becomes the third head coach of the CVU program, which enters its fourth varsity level campaign this fall.
He replaces Charlie Burnett, who resigned to take over the coaching reins at Essex High this coming season. Burnett teaches at Essex and resides in that community.
Provost said the idea of returning to the high school gridiron scene became attractive because CVU has “a program on the way up.” He cited a solid number of players at the varsity and feeder levels, a supportive administration and a solid booster organization.
“They built the program the right way,” he said.
The anticipation runs both ways.
“We are excited to have him,” Athletic Director Kevin Riell said Monday.
Joining Provost as an assistant will be Kevin McCarthy, a native of southern New England who is new to coaching in Vermont. CVU and Provost are still looking for assistants for the varsity and junior varsity teams.
In his days at Rice, Provost led the Green Knights to two state titles and was head coach of the 1990 Vermont Shrine football team.
The veteran coach says his philosophy is “don’t beat yourself” with penalties and other mistakes.
“We want people to know they will have to play well to beat us that day,” he said.
Provost has been looking at film from CVU’s playoff season of 2007, and with 55 sophomores, juniors and seniors — not counting incoming freshmen — returning, he said, “We will find some players.”
He promised potential players that if they work hard in practice, “We will find a spot for you.”
Provost is planning a summer conditioning program. Whether there will be spring practice will be decided in the next few weeks.
“We do hope to have a meeting with players and parents before school lets out,” he said.