Ashland Football Excellence and Coach Peter Belskis have been synonymous for 43 years.
ASHLAND, Maine — Ashland’s Football Excellence and Coach Peter Belskis have been synonymous for 43 years.
Belskis was recently recognized by the Maine State Soccer Coaches Association for his 213 career wins in women’s soccer and, taking into account 250 wins for the Ashland boys, puts him at 463 wins overall over his impressive career. of coach.
Belskis said that to be successful in football, all members of the football team had to contribute as a group and his main goal was to have the team work together towards a common goal.
Belskis has a passion for coaching and enjoys seeing children grow and improve as individuals. For Belskis, football is a tool to teach children life lessons through sport and never to focus too much on winning.
“I’ve been blessed with pretty good health so why not do something you’re passionate about,” he said. “Very few people have this opportunity to do it and I’ve had the chance to do it all my life, which I find very special.”
In 2000, he retired from the Ashland men’s team to focus on spending time with his family, but a few years later volunteered for the Ashland women’s team when his older young girl was playing for the Hornets.
He took over Ashland’s women’s soccer team in 2006, following the retirement of the soccer team’s former coach.
“I wasn’t ready to give up coaching, so I found the girls had a lot to offer as well,” Belskis said.
In 2011, Belskis retired from teaching after 37 years, but he couldn’t stay away from his passion for coaching and continued coaching the girls at Ashland for another 17 years.
“When I was growing up and thinking about what I was going to do, my goal when I was younger was to be a professional baseball player, then I had a football injury in my senior year. high school,” Belskis said.
After Belskis broke his leg during a football game, the Rumford Middle School guidance counselor asked Belskis about his backup plan and suggested teaching and coaching would be a good choice. . Belskis could still be part of the athletics he loved participating in and was pushed into physical education.
After graduating from Rumford High School, Belskis attended Findlay University in Ohio in 1971. It was his high school basketball coach, Tom Gibson, who helped him get into this university. . Belskis attended Findlay for a year before returning to the University of Maine at Près Isle where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education in 1974.
Belskis got his start as a coach for Ashland High School in 1974 when he joined the high school boys’ football team as a coach. Ashland was 4-7-1 in 1974 in Eastern Maine Class C and a second seed in Class C in 1975, they moved to Class D in 1989.
Belskis coached the boys at Ashland for 26 years, winning his first championship in 1997 when his son was on the team. That same year, Belskis was the Eastern Maine Boys’ Coach of the Year recognized by the Maine Soccer Coaches Association, according to its president Michael Jeffrey. In 2016, Belskis was named Coach of the Year for New England in the Small School category.
“The challenge you get as a coach, not just with the kids and the goals, is always something that I found difficult and really accept,” Belskis said.
Belskis was shortlisted for the Maine Soccer Coaches Service Award in 2002 and received the State Coach of the Year Award for the Maine small high school girls category from the National Soccer Association of America in 2016. Belskis also won the National Soccer Association Regional Coach of the Year. Small School Prices for All of New England.
Belskis’ passion for football is still going strong, now he has a sixth grade granddaughter who is following the Ashland school program and if Belskis stays healthy he plans to coach the next generation of football players from high school.