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    A sentimental farewell for Bentley’s Thom Boerman

    Boerman marks end of Bentley career

    Thom Boerman was a player’s coach, a confidant, and a calming influence right up until the end of his 28-year career at Bentley University.

    Boerman, the Falcons’ head football coach the past five seasons, announced his retirement, effective Saturday, to the team and administration on Nov. 17, the day after Bentley (6-5) secured a winning season with a 56-41 victory over Saint Anselm College.

    “I just felt it was time to step away, and I did so with a feeling of pride and accomplishment, but also with regret because I had a great job with a tremendous program coaching outstanding young men,’’ said the 60-year-old Maynard resident.

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    “I’ve been pretty choked up writing e-mails this week because of all the alumni who have been wishing me well and thanking me, and of course, some who wish I would stay.’’

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    A desire to spend more time with his family, a midseason “health scare’’ that hospitalized him for two days, and potential nonfootball career opportunities were factors in Boerman’s decision, one he shared with his assistants and senior quarterback Danny Guadagnoli a few weeks before the final game.

    “They sensed something was up and I didn’t want to mislead my coaches, because recruiting season was approaching, or Danny, who has a year of eligibility remaining,’’ said Boerman, whose son, Zach, is a three-sport athlete and starting quarterback at Maynard High School as a junior. His daughter, Rachel, a sixth-grader, is into softball, basketball, and cheerleading.

    “I’m looking [forward] to watching them more,’’ said Boerman.

    Guadagnoli gave Boerman a going-away present versus Saint Anselm that neither will forget.

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    The former Framingham High star completed 30 of 43 passes for five touchdowns, ran for another, and set Bentley single-game and season records for passing yards and total offense.

    “Coach Boerman is the kind of guy that when you walked into his office and spoke, the conversation remained private,’’ said Guadagnoli, who is still considering playing next season for his fourth year of eligibility.

    “I’m really going to miss our personal relationship and coach’s approachability, and I hope that continues between us.’’

    Guadagnoli added, “I’d be shocked if he totally walks away from the game because football will always be a part of him, and in our discussions he’s alluded to that. But he has other priorities in his life right now and I wish him all the best.’’

    Boerman said he first thought about a coaching career the summer before his senior year at Hamilton High in Holland, Mich.

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    “My friend’s father was director of a youth football league. One of his coaches couldn’t make it, so we volunteered and I had so much fun doing it,’’ recalled Boerman, a Navy veteran. A linebacker at Ferris State College in Michigan, his playing career was cut short by a knee injury.

    After a stint as an assistant coach at Millbury High, Boerman served as a volunteer and then assistant coach in 1985 and 1986 with the Bentley club football team.

    It was the beginning of Boerman’s association with former Falcons’ head coach and longtime friend Peter Yetten. Boerman was an assistant coach, director of football operations, and defensive coordinator under Yetten, whom he succeeded prior to the 2009 season.

    “I learned a lot from working with Peter,’’ Boerman said, “mostly that there is no substitute for passion for the game.’’

    As head coach, Boerman led the Falcons to a 33-17 record, including 8-2 seasons in 2009 and last year, and a share of the Northeast-10 Conference title in 2009 and 2010.

    The NE-10 Coach of the Year in 2009, Boerman was honored this fall by the Boston chapter of the Eastern Association of Intercollegiate Football Officials with the Murray Lewis Award for contributions to the sport.

    “He was a success here and he did it with class,’’ said Bentley athletic director Bob DeFelice, who said the rest of the football staff is intact and “people have been coming out of the woodwork inquiring about the position.’’

    “I could see myself doing it again,’’ said Boerman, whose wife, Anne, has two degrees from Bentley and manages computer operations at Mathworks in Natick, “but now it’s time to recharge my battery.’’

    Ruggiero honored

    Bridgewater State University senior lineman Rob Ruggiero of Acton was selected as Defensive Player of the Year for the inaugural football season of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference.

    He led the MASCAC and was sixth nationally in Division 3 with 12 sacks, and also recorded two fumble recoveries and 33 solo tackles, including 23.5 tackles for a loss, which ranks third nationally.

    Also named to the MASCAC defensive first team were Framingham State junior back Kevin Donahue of Norfolk and Worcester State junior lineman Bryan Narcisse of Medway.

    Here and there

    Stonehill College sophomore field hockey standout Erika Kelly of Watertown ended the season with a Northeast-10 Conference record 38 goals and a program record 78 points, which tied a conference mark. She was joined on the NE-10 All-Conference first team by two teammates: senior Gina Sheehan of Shrewsbury, the NE-10 Defensive Player of the Year; and junior Emily Sideris of Watertown. The Skyhawks (18-4) lost in the first round of the NCAA Division 2 playoffs to Merrimack, 4-3. . . . American International College sophomore linebacker Demetrius Steed (Bedford High) had six tackles and a half sack in his team’s 27-16 victory over Stonehill that clinched the NE-10 title and a berth in the NCAA Division 2 playoffs. . . . Sarah Collins, one of the greatest players in Babson College women’s basketball history, is an assistant coach on the women’s team at Mount Ida College in Newton.

    Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.