Barr – “This quote from John Wooden:” A good coach can change the game. A great coach can change a life. That was the first thing I thought of when I heard Rick Lindstein announced that he is retiring as Quabbin boys football coach,” Jamie (Szafarowicz) Quabbin girls’ regional football coach.
Lindsten informed Panthers athletic director Mark Mayville late last month of his decision to retire as boys’ football coach, a position he has held since 2011. This fall, for the first time in 35 years, Lindsten will no longer coach football in some capacity.
“I’ve been thinking about it for the past couple of years. I’ve been coaching football for 34 years in a row; I started when I was 29,” said the 64-year-old Lindsten. “It’s been a long time and it’s been fun. For the past 11 years, I have also been a girls’ golf instructor at Quabbin.
Coaching two sports is a huge commitment,” said Lindsten, the all-time leading goalscorer (60 goals, 21 assists, 81 points) in Quabbin’s regional football history and a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame. “I finished the girls’ golf season in June, then we have a week’s football camp in July. The next thing you know is August and football begins. From the start of the golf season to the end of the football season, it’s a very long time; about 23 weeks.”
Mayville said Lindsten’s retirement will create a sideline vacuum at Panthers football matches.
“We will definitely miss Rick’s knowledge, enthusiasm and competitive spirit,” said Miffel. “Rick always had an anecdote to back up the point he was trying to get across to his team. His players respect him. They respect the fact that he is a Quabbin and has given his life and put so much effort into the Quabbin athletics.”
In addition to getting some much-needed vacation, Lindsten, after retiring, will be able to pursue a cross-country career and follow the careers of his 14-year-old daughter Juliana, who will be a student at Quabbin Regional in September.
Lindsten was the girls’ soccer coach at Wachosett Regional University from 1996-2006. Mountain climbers qualified for the central liturgy. Division I Championship every year Lindsten was the coach.
During Lindsten’s tenure, Wachusett collected a record 138-53-29 and won the Central Mass title. Division I title twice (1996 and 2001). In 2001, the Mountaineers defeated Notre Dame of Hingham, 2-1, to capture the Massachusetts Division 1 Championship. The 1996 Central Massachusetts Championship and 2001 state title were the first in Wachssett girls’ football history.
Lindsten’s Quabbin teams haven’t been as successful in terms of wins and losses as their Wachusett teams, but the Panthers have qualified for the Central Mass Championships in 2013 (Division 1), 2018 and 2019 (Division 3).
The 2020 Quabbin boys’ soccer team is widely regarded as the strongest team during Lindsten’s tenure. The Panthers were 7-0-1 that year COVID changed, and they won the Mid-Wach C Pod Championship. The Panthers scored 36 goals in those eight games while only allowing seven.
In between his high school coaching hiatus, Lindsten served as the head coach of the women’s soccer team at Baker College (known as Baker Junior College at the time) for three years, an assistant coach at Anna Maria College for a year, and an assistant coach at Clark University. for two years.
During his career, Lindsten has also coached several traveling teams that have played in international tournaments, including Antigua (four times), Barbuda, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. On one of his trips to Antigua, his team won the 3 Nations Cup. Lindsten was also part of a four-day trip he called “Coach’s Trip” to Iceland with a group of soccer and ice hockey coaches.
Lindsten also coached on Quabbin Youth Soccer, where he met Cook.
“I started playing with Rick when I was 13,” said Cook, the all-time leading scorer (57 goals, 23 assists, 80 points) in Quabbin Regional girls’ soccer history and 2016 inductee into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. “I wouldn’t have had my playing career or my coaching career without him. He definitely had the biggest impact on my footballing journey.
“Up until that point (your teenage years) you’ve been playing youth football and you’re just happy to be there, and I’m happy to have you on the team,” Cook said. “Despite that age, I just acknowledged football would be a thing for me. Rick played a part in that. The way he coached, the way he pushed me, the way he pushed us all.”
Lindsten also showed the cook and her teammates that the sport was more than they could experience at the youth, high school and college levels.
“At that time the US women’s national team was in the headlines; they did really well, women like Michelle Akers and Mia Hamm became known nationally,” said Cook. “Rick really brought that to our team. He made us realize there was a higher level of football playing. I had no idea at that point. To make him bring that to us in the early ’90s I thought was amazing.”
About eight years ago, when Cook decided she was ready to dip her toe into the shallow end of the football training complex, it was Lindsten who came, picked it up, and threw it at the deep end of that pond.
“We were working together at Quabbin, and he came to me one day and said, ‘We have to get you into training,'” Cook recalls. The kids were really young at the time. That summer, Rick called me and told me his joint venture coach had to step down and that he needed a JV coach and that the season started in two weeks.
Cook continued, “I told him again that I didn’t think I had time,” and he said, “No, the auditions will start next week. I need you here. Rick has done a lot for me and I told myself I had to find out. I was excited to try it out and I thought JV That would be a good starting point. So I said to myself, “Okay, let’s do this.” I remember going into that first practice of thinking, “What am I finding myself in? I’m not ready for that. “
Lindsten showed Cook his training plans and how to take the exams, explaining the process every step of the way.
“I absorbed everything. I worked with him all season. In the middle of the year we had a lot of injuries and he had to attract a lot of JV players to university. I canceled a lot of games that we finished at the end of the season,” Cook said. On his seat as an assistant coach for boys’ squash football for the rest of the year.
“I watched him coach this season and said, ‘This is where I want to be. I want to be a coach on the sidelines of the university at some point,'” Cook continued. “And then, quite by chance, the college girls’ center opened the following season and I applied for it. I wouldn’t be anywhere in my football career or my coaching career if my path didn’t intersect with Rick’s. I am very happy for Rick. He had a long playing career. and training, but I am sad that he is retiring.”