By MEGHAN PIERCE
PETERBOROUGH — Several campuses across the region are mourning the loss of 29-year-old history teacher and football coach Nick Seymour.
“Nick was a widely respected and well-liked member of our university community. Our deepest condolences and thoughts are with his wife, children and entire family at this difficult time,” Franklin Pierce president Dr. Kim Mooney said in a statement Thursday.
Members of the Sprint Football team at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge knew something wasn’t right Wednesday afternoon when assistant sprint football coach Seymour failed to show up to practice.
“We all noticed that there was a point when he didn’t show up and it wasn’t like him and I looked at my phone and he didn’t text me,” head sprint football coach Rashad Watson said Thursday.
Watson said as the practice continued Wednesday concern grew for Seymour since he couldn’t be reached and had not shown up.
“I think we’re all just in a state of shock right now especially the players he’s been coaching here for the past three years,” Watson said while at practice Thursday afternoon.
Seymour spent eight years as an assistant coach for Football at ConVal High School, where he had graduated from high school. He went on to Keene State College where he graduated in 2010.
Watson said Seymour had started a new teaching position at Merrimack High School this fall and would drive to FPU campus in Rindge every day after school for sprint football practice.
Watson said he offered to cancel practice Thursday and Friday’s trip to Saturday’s game in Annapolis, Md., against the Naval Academy team.
“We all thought about what Nick would have said,” Watson said.
Every team member said no to canceling, Watson said, and has brought an intensity and focus to Thursday’s practice that is a testament to Seymour’s impact on the players.
“They’re really just dedicating everything they can to give their best effort for him,” Watson said. “I’m looking at some of the guys that he was really close to and they are really locked in and focused.”
Seymour is survived by his wife, Leah, and their young children, a son and a daughter, Watson said.
“My heart just breaks for them,” Watson said.
Thursday Franklin Pierce University posted a page dedicated to Seymour.
“Described by those who knew him best as a gentle, passionate, dedicated and devoted coach and family man who made those around him better, Seymour had a lengthy and meaningful relationship with the local community. A product of ConVal High School and later a 2010 graduate of Keene State University, he returned to ConVal for eight years as an assistant football coach before joining the Ravens staff, where he was responsible for working with the team’s defensive backs. Seymour was also the point person for the team’s first big community service project this fall, as he spearheaded the effort to get the team over to assist with clean-up efforts at Monadnock Adult Care.”
Seymour started at Merrimack High School this fall as a social studies teacher, according to the page. “He had previously held teaching positions at Mascenic High School, South Meadow Middle School and ConVal.”
Watson said Seymour was excited about his new teaching positon at Merrimack High School, loved football and had aspirations to become a high school principal one day.
“I think he enjoyed being a mentor, especially to young people,” Watson said. “And he wanted to have a positive impact on young people’s lives.”
FPU tribute to Seymour
The FPU page dedicated to Seymour has many comments including from Greg Leonard, former offensive coordinator at FPU and former head coach at ConVal, “I knew Nick from his freshman year at ConVal in Peterborough. He played football for Steve Bartsch, John Reitnauer (who also coached for FPU’s football program). He was a defensive end, running back and tight end during his high school career and wore number 44. After his high school football career ended, I asked him to join me on the sideline as one of my assistant coaches. He coached at ConVal the entire time he was at Keene State. After graduating from Keene State he coached with me at ConVal while taking on his first Social Studies teaching job at Mascenic high school. Soon he moved to South Meadow Middle School in Peterborough and ConVal High School and was still coaching as a position coach on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball before becoming the offensive coordinator. Later he joined the staff at Franklin Pierce 3.5 years ago.
Family was always central in his life. Values that were ingrained in him from his mom and dad, as he grew up in Antrim, were what make the bonds of his family strong. Those values served him well as he attended elementary and middle school in his hometown. Later, while he was attending high school he met is wife, Leah Stone. They graduated together. They lived in Peterborough and after marriage they were blessed with their two children. Nick, Leah and the kids were always surrounded by their parents, Leah’s sister’s family, and grandparents.
Nick was a devoted son, son-in-law, husband, father, teacher, coach and friend. He had a big heart and shared many laughs with all that he came in contact with. He will be missed, but never forgotten.”
Wilton police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Route 101 in Wilton Wednesday at 2:55 p.m., just east of Russell Hill Road.
A 2010 Honda, driven by Seymour, was traveling west on Route 101 and a 1994 Ford Cargo van driven by Jeffrey Calawa, 60, of Brookline was traveling east on Route 101.
According to witnesses, the Honda crossed into the eastbound lane where it struck the Ford van head-on.
Seymour suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Calawa received serious injuries and was taken to the Southern NH Medical Center in Nashua by Wilton Ambulance.
The crash remains under investigation.