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Coach Bill Blood Passes Away

William “Bill” K. Blood, Assistant Track and Field Coach, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 63. Blood joined Andover track as an assistant coach in 2009, working mainly with sprinters and hurdlers. He taught physical education and coached track, baseball, basketball and football for many years at Methuen public schools, said Patrick Farrell, Assistant Track and Field Coach. “Bill Blood wasn’t only an outstanding coach with the Phillips Academy track teams, he was a living legend in the Merrimack Valley region as a baseball and track coach,” wrote Lou Bernieri, Assistant Track and Field Coach, in an e-mail to The Phillipian. Blood was inducted into the Methuen High School Hall of Fame in 2011 for his coaching, according to “The Eagle-Tribune.” Blood also directed the Bruce Blood Memorial Basketball Tournament for 30 years. The tournament is named for his brother, Bruce Blood, who was killed in a car accident at the age of 24 in 1982, according to the Methuen Basketball website. A lifetime member of the Methuen Youth Basketball Association, Bill Blood also co-founded the Methuen Legion Program, Methuen’s local baseball team, according to “The Eagle Tribune.” During Blood’s first year on the team, both Boys and Girls Track went undefeated and won the New England Championships. “While he specialized in the sprints and hurdles, every coach on the team consulted with him. All you had to do was describe the problem your athlete was having, and he had a drill that would rectify it. We had a good team that year with a lot of talent, but there are many good teams every year,” wrote Farrell in an e-mail to The Phillipian. “What other teams didn’t have was a Coach Blood—he was the backbone of the coaching staff,” wrote Farrell. “But outstanding coaching is more than technical skill—the key is connecting with kids. Coach Blood made every young person on our team feel valued and important. He gave tirelessly his time and had an endless amount of patience—I never once saw him make a harsh comment to a young person or brush off a question. I often saw him do the opposite—pull a young person aside and say just the right thing to motivate them,” he continued. “Four years ago, [Head] Coach [Corbin] Lang went on sabbatical, and I was asked to assume the role of Co-Head Coach with Mr. Bernieri,” wrote Farrell. “The first problem I had to solve was finding more coaches! My wife teaches with Coach Blood’s wife and mentioned my predicament. Several weeks later, he joined us as an assistant coach.” “When we hired him, all we knew is that he had coached track for many years at public schools in Massachusetts in addition to teaching physical education. There wasn’t time for me to interview him—the first time I met him was at our first indoor practice of the year. Needless to say, I was a little nervous. I shouldn’t have been. From the very start, he showed that all-important ability to connect with young people. But it also soon became clear that he was far and away the most knowledgeable coach on the staff,” Farrell continued. “Bill recently retired from his teaching job. But he couldn’t stop coaching track. He loved the sport and the students at PA. The track team will miss him dearly” wrote Farrell. Coach Blood left a lasting impression on the students he coached. “Let it be known that Coach Blood was an outstanding individual. Everything he did he devoted his entire self to. Good was simply never good enough. He challenged me to strive for perfection. He never let me settle for anything less than my best. He always found new ways to push me beyond limits and to obtain goals I never imagined I could. Beyond track, [Coach Blood] helped me develop good character,” wrote Diana Tchadi ’14, an Andover hurdler and sprinter, in an e-mail to The Phillipian. “He was witty and articulate and extremely knowledgeable about every aspect of track and field. He made practices fun but knew how to prepare his athletes for the pressures of competition. A great coach, a great guy—he will be sorely missed,” wrote Bernieri. “Coach Blood was a good friend. We shared a love of not just sports, but the athletic nature of sports. We read the same books and studied the same ideas and debated teaching philosophies. Coach Blood was a tremendous teacher,” wrote Corbin Lang, Head Coach of Track and Field. Blood spent most of his life in Methuen, Mass. He attended Tenney High School and played football, track and baseball until his graduation in 1966, according to an obituary published by the Kenneth H. Pollard Funeral Home. He graduated from Northeastern and went on to Lesley University to earn his Masters. Blood is survived by his wife, son and mother. His funeral will take place tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. at St. Monica’s Church in Methuen.