Belchertown, Mass. native and 2010 WNE graduate spent past six seasons as Offensive Coordinator
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (May 8, 2018) - Western New England University President Anthony S. Caprio announced that Jason Lebeau has been elevated to head football coach at the University. The Golden Bears' offensive coordinator for the past six seasons, Lebeau succeeds Keith Emery, who is stepping aside to relocate with his family. Emery will remain affiliated with Western New England in an advisory capacity.
"As evidenced by the performance on the field, in the classroom, and in the community, Coach Emery's leadership and the investments the University has made have transformed Western New England football into a model program," says Caprio. "We are extremely fortunate to have in Jason Lebeau a coach who knows the program inside and out, providing for a seamless transition and setting the stage for continued excellence."
Lebeau is a native of nearby Belchertown now living in Springfield with his wife Samantha. He spent the past eight years on the Golden Bears coaching staff, including a half dozen as offensive coordinator. Under his leadership, the Western New England offense ranked among the most prolific in the nation, earning him recognition as the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston's New England Division III assistant coach of the year following the 2016 season.
"It is with great pride and enthusiasm that I accept the tremendous opportunity to lead the Western New England Football program," said Lebeau. "It is my honor and privilege to lead a team of student-athletes that remind me of my "why" each and every day while working for an academic institution committed to success both on and off the field."
A 2010 graduate of Western New England University, Lebeau was a three-year starter on the offensive line for the Golden Bears and the team's offensive MVP his senior season. He would go on to earn an MBA from Western New England while coaching.
"My Western New England journey began over twelve years ago as a high school recruit that believed in Coach Keith Emery's vision for the program and the success he knew was possible," added Lebeau. "I have been fortunate to have had Keith Emery as a coach, mentor, and pillar of support since then and I am excited to continue to build our program with the same level of discipline and drive that he has instilled in me."
Emery transitions to a new role following 13 seasons as head coach. He and his family will be relocating to Charlotte, NC, so that his wife can pursue a career opportunity. "I am fortunate to be married to a wonderful and successful woman. It is important to me and our family that she be able to accept this incredible opportunity to advance herself professionally," said Emery.
During Emery's tenure, the Golden Bears compiled an 86-49 record, including a 37-7 mark over the past four seasons. Emery and Lebeau have guided the team to three straight conference championships, including the inaugural Commonwealth Coast Conference title in 2017, and four trips to the NCAA Tournament.
"I have the utmost confidence in Jason. There is no one I trust more to take Golden Bear Football to new heights," said Emery. "I am happy I will still be able to help Jason and coaching staff as needed in my continued association with the program. I look forward to coming back to campus to track and assist in the development of our student-athletes."
The Enfield, Conn. native racked up an impressive number of coach of the year awards, including honors from New England Football Conference (four times), New England Football Writers' (2016), Gridiron Club of Greater Boston (2015), and the ECAC (2015).
Emery and his student-athletes have also been lauded for their work in the greater Springfield community. The Golden Bears have worked with CoachToCureMD to raise money and awareness of Muscular Dystrophy, the anti-gang initiative Brothers United Mentoring Program, and Revitalize Community Development Corp. to improve area neighborhoods. It was Emery's work with Revitalize CDC which earned him the Community Spotlight Award at the organization's 25th anniversary celebration this past November.
The Golden Bears open the 2018 football season Friday, August 31 at crosstown rival Springfield College before taking on Westfield State in their home opener Saturday, September 8. The team opens its defense of the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship Saturday, September 29 at Salve Regina.