Kent returns as head coach of Thayer wrestling

Kent returns as head coach of Thayer wrestling

Thayer Academy has named Jeff Kent P ‘13 as head coach of its varsity wrestling team.


“We are thrilled to have Coach Kent return to Thayer as head coach of our wrestling program,” said Athletic Director Bobbi Moran. “His passion and knowledge of wrestling will help to build upon the strong foundation of Thayer wrestling in the ISL and NEPSAC leagues.”

Moran expressed gratitude that both Kent and Doug Lally ‘87, Kent’s brother-in-law and the captain of Thayer’s 1986-87 wrestling team, stepped in this past winter to coach the team midseason. “Coaches Kent and Lally brought great enthusiasm to the program with the help of assistant coaches Marc Rando P ‘18, ‘20 and John Geary, all of whom have shown tremendous dedication and commitment to our student-athletes,” she said. 

Kent, who served as head coach of the Tigers from 2009 until 2013, is excited to be back at a program he knows well. 

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to lead the Thayer Academy wrestling program,” said Kent. “I’m excited to share my passion for the sport and to inspire the wrestlers to be good teammates, to be humble in their pursuits, and to continue to show respect and concern for others. My hope is that they develop confidence in themselves, evolve as leaders in the community, and learn how to find their best. My vision for the future is to have a wrestling room with a full complement of wrestlers who are psyched to compete and demand excellence from one another.”

A native of Sanford, Maine, Kent attended his local high school before completing a postgraduate year at Phillips Andover Academy. There, he was a multisport athlete in football and wrestling and earned third-place honors at the National Prep Wrestling Championships in 1986.

Shortly after graduation from Bowdoin College where he also played football and wrestled, Kent began his tenure as an independent school educator teaching mathematics and coaching wrestling and football at Hyde School in Maine. He served as the head coach of the Wolfpack’s football and wrestling programs from 1991 until 1997 before taking time away from the independent school world to pursue a career as a financial advisor.

Prior to his initial time coaching at Thayer, Kent taught and coached down the road in Braintree at Archbishop Williams High School from 2003 until 2010; in fact, he joined Thayer’s program in 2009 while still at Archbishop Williams. During those first four years at Thayer, Kent successfully built the Tigers into a competitive wrestling program. He helped to develop 20 place winners in the ISL tournament, including two ISL champions. 

In 2017 Kent returned to Hyde where he successfully rebuilt the school’s wrestling program. He also taught mathematics there while serving as the school’s dean of faculty and head football coach. 

“We are incredibly proud of Jeff’s connection with and commitment to Thayer’s wrestling program,” said Moran. “His experience as a coach and enthusiasm for the sport will help to raise the bar for our Tiger program.” 

In addition to his duties as head wrestling coach, Kent will join the staff of Thayer’s football program where he will work alongside varsity head coach Jeff Toussaint ‘82, a longtime friend. Kent will help to coach this fall’s football team but said he hopes to convert several football players into grapplers come winter. Kent also wants to increase the number of girls participating in the wrestling program, which is a coed sport at Thayer. 

Thayer Academy competes in the ISL and NEPSAC, and its wrestling program has a proud history. At the Thayer Sports Hall of Fame’s most recent induction ceremonies in the fall of 2022, both the 1970-71 and 1971-72 varsity wrestling teams earned membership; they were recognized as two monumental teams that built the foundation for Thayer wrestling, which was reinstated as a school sport in 1968. Those early teams were coached by the late Bill Smith; today, the William Smith Wrestling Center in Cahall Campus Center honors his legacy. 

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