NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

NECC welcomes new cross-country head coach, David Tousignant

On March 17 David Tousignant of Lowell arrived at NECC to serve as the next head coach for the Men and Women’s Varsity cross-country program. Athletic director, Dan Blair announced the hiring.

“He has good experience at the high school level throughout the region and I think that will translate here at the college,” Blair said regarding the hire.

The newly appointed head coach has ambitious plans for improving the cross-country program “I know that the baseball team was in the junior college World Series and the basketball team has been very successful. I want our runners to be talked to in the same breath as the baseball and basketball teams,” Tousignant said. “I hope to make cross-country and track and field more synonymous with NECC much like baseball and basketball.” Tousignant is also planning on partnering with head track and field coach, Nelson Desilvestre to help bring cross-country and track and field into the forefront of NECC sports.

Tousignant has also expressed a desire for an Alumni run in the fall.

“Next fall I would like to see an alumni road race as a fundraiser for the school. Get people, administrators, teachers, alumni, have a day to get back on campus just kind of draw everyone around the program,” he said.

The first practice of the 2022 season will be held Monday Aug. 15th. The season will begin in the fall and end in the winter. The team is open to men and women. There are no roster cuts in the program. Practice lasts about an hour and a half and meets usually take place on Saturdays. A key part of practice is building endurance and cardio needed for long distance running. Tousignant tailors his practices to be enjoyable and fit in easily to a student athlete’s daily routine.

Overall athleticism is a point of emphasis Tousignant has in his training regimen which he plans on teaching each of his athletes.

“As you can imagine running an 8k (five + miles) is nothing short of stress on the body, which is why we focus so much on overall athleticism and not just miles and miles,” he said.

Cross Country head coach David Tousignant Courtesy of

Cross Country head coach David Tousignant

Cross-country athletes endure a difficult and physically demanding workout regime. Tousignant who was also a student athlete in college and high school explained how he can relate to the strenuous activities that his cross-country athletes go through.

“I run road races, it helps me to relate to the athletes themselves so when they start talking about how they feel after running six miles in the morning, I have done that. It helps me to relate to what they are talking about, it is not outside my comfort zone, and they talk about the feeling in their calves or their quads, I have probably had that same feeling myself. It helps them realize I have gone through my own program so to speak. It helps me understand what they are talking about,” Tousignant said.

Cross country is also a demanding phycological sport as well. “Endurance and long-distance runners can already run, what’s most important is mental and phycological focus on fighting through the physical demands of the sport,” Tousignant said.

Although this will be Tousignant’s first season coaching at the college level, he still brings plenty of coaching experience to the table. For the last 20 years he coached at high schools in schools in the Merrimack Valley. He is currently serving as a coach at Lincoln Sudbury Regional High school. Tousignant previously served on coaching staffs at Greater Lowell high school, Burlington and Tewksbury high schools and Norte Dame Academy.

Prior to coaching Tousignant spent 38 years in law enforcement as a Detective Sergeant for the Lowell police department. During Tousignant’s interview with Blair for the head coaching position Tousignant quipped “This is funny, I’m usually the one asking questions,” he said.

Tousignant first entered coaching in 2001. While he was working as a detective sergeant, his wife’s cousin remembered that he participated in Track and field in high school and college and asked if he could coach the team at their school for the season. Tousignant agreed, enjoyed it, and has coached every season since “My secondary career was born,” he said.

Tousignant has a wife, Susan of 38 years and they have a daughter, Lauren who is a writer in New York City. Susan has served as a teacher for nearly 50 years. Tousignant enjoys spending time remaining active by running and exercising at the gym.

For more information on the cross-country program contact David Tousignant at dtousignant@NECC.Edu or Athletic director Dan Blair at dblair@NECC.Edu