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Goffstown's new coach comes from Indiana high school but grew up in Tilton

Jan. 23—John Preston is coming back to New Hampshire, and he's coming back to coach football.

Preston, 32, is now the varsity football coach at Goffstown High School. He was approved by the Goffstown School Board on Monday night.

Preston, who grew up in Tilton, has spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Whiteland High School, a 5A school with about 2,200 students in Whiteland, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis.

"When I went through the interview process the thing that stuck out to me was the people there don't just love Goffstown and the area, but they really care about football and they want this program to be good," Preston said. "To have a successful or championship-level team is a community effort. You need an entire community to join in on that. That's something I learned here at Whiteland. I had the same feeling that Goffstown was that place.

"When we get this going, this is not just going to be a high school football team, this is going to be a team the community comes out and supports every Friday night. And that was important to me."

Preston played football at Bishop Brady, but transferred to Tabor Academy in Marion, Mass., following his junior season. After graduating from Tabor, he played running back and linebacker at Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois.

The Goffstown job will be his first as a head coach.

"We are going to play a very disciplined and tough brand of football," Preston said. "I don't quite want to let people know the stuff we're running because I hope part of our success in Year One is that I can keep that in my pocket a little bit. We're gonna play football the right way, essentially.

"We're going to build a program. Having a winning football team is great, but that ends after a year. I want to create a great program. This isn't just building the high school level up for me. This is building the youth league, the middle school and making sure everyone in this project we have going on feels a part of this. I want it to be something the community is proud of."

Preston replaces Nick Hammond, who resigned as Goffstown's head coach in December. Hammond spent seven seasons with the program, including four as head coach.

"There were a lot of applications," Goffstown athletic director Justin Hufft said. "A lot more than four years ago, so that was good to see. Then a handful of interviews.

"He's been the defensive coordinator, right-hand man (at Whiteland) for six years. Very successful team. So he's coached at a high level out there, and he received just sterling recommendations from everybody we've talked to."

Preston said he will be moving to New Hampshire on Saturday, while his wife, Torey, remains in Indiana until their house is sold. He said a return to New Hampshire was always in their plans.

"The most important thing to me is I want to make sure the kids love football, and enjoy every minute of it," he said. "This was the right time and I was very fortunate the right place was available."

rbrown@unionleader.com