Renaissance Man: Meet English Teacher and Football Coach Patrick Groleau


Aiden C. Barker

English teacher Patrick Groleau switches to his coaching hat during his first HBHS football season.

Aiden C. Barker, Staff Writer

Most people know Patrick Groleau as the new English teacher at Hollis Brookline High School, but they might not know that he is also a football coach. As the new line coach for the Cavaliers football team, teaching English and coaching football was always something Groleau wanted to do. He did his undergraduate studies at Emerson College and worked at a couple of different marketing agencies before deciding to follow his passion for teaching English. He began teaching at Manchester Central High School and was a long-term substitute teacher at Manchester West before signing on at HB.

“I love fiction, reading, especially short stories,” says Groleau. “It’s fun talking about books all day. I can drone, especially if it’s something I’m interested in, just go on and on.” Recently, Groleau published a short horror story.

As for football, Groleau says “it’s good to be back.” Working until dark at different marketing agencies, it left no time for after-school coaching. After transitioning to teaching at the Manchester school district, Groleau was able to coach JV lacrosse, but football has always been his first love.

Born and raised in New Hampshire, he started playing football in second grade and continued all the way through high school at ConVal. When he saw that HB was looking for a new line coach, Groleau took advantage of the opportunity and applied. He was given the position and got straight to work over the summer. At the time, there were only about 22 players, mostly those returning from the previous year. But Coach Groleau and the team were able to recruit even more players and are now up to over 40 on the roster, mostly freshmen and sophomore athletes.

Even though the football team has a good amount of youth and inexperience, Groleau has a good amount of experience in coaching and teaching such groups. Familiar with coaching JV lacrosse in the Manchester school district, as well as teaching freshman and sophomore English, he shines at connecting with the younger players.

“Coaching, you get to know students so that’s really nice,” Groleau said. “All the teaching training helps coaching as well.” For example, when he’s running a new drill, he tries to explain to the players why it’s important, just like he would when he’s introducing a new concept in his English classroom.

Being an English teacher and a football coach can be different in ways, but Groleau has been able to connect with his students more because of that. “I have a lot of my players in class and they just get to see a different side of [their] teacher when you’re a coach,” he explains. “You get to have a little bit more fun.”

Ahead of the Cavaliers’ home opener against Lebanon under the Friday night lights, some players weighed in on their thoughts on their coach and the impact he’s made on the team.

 “We’ve taken our new line coach’s suggestions and we’ve worked on some of the issues we had last year; we noticed where we failed and we fixed them,” said junior lineman John McCole.

Senior receiver and safety Braydon Laub described Coach Groleau as “a super nice guy…he seems like he’s great at what he does.”

“He’s a great coach, he’s able to take what the line is doing wrong and is definitely fixing them up,” said senior running back Elliot Troddyn.

“The most important thing about high school sports is that you’re having fun,” said Groleau, describing his coaching philosophy. There are three things he wants his players to consider: “Are you having fun? Are you learning about the sport? Are you improving as a player?”

The Cavaliers seemed to do all three of those things in their blowout win versus Lebanon that night by a score of 47-0. Elliot Troddyn rushed for a touchdown and got 2 sacks defensively. Braydon Laub had a great receiving game with 2 touchdowns. The defensive line was incredible, totaling 5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss. John McCole greatly contributed with 7 tackles.

Groleau and his line look to continue that energy throughout the season and keep the same philosophy in mind.

“If you’re not having fun,” Groleau said, “then what’s the point of doing it?”