The list of Keene State College graduates who have gone on to make names for themselves in the coaching profession is long and impressive. And when it comes to coaches who have distinguished themselves in the area of high school basketball, Lang Mefcalf certainly belongs high above the rim.
Even from the start there was little doubt that Metcalf was destined to take his place among the great high school coaches in the state of New Hampshire. The son of Dan Metcalf, named New Hampshire's "Mr. Basketball" for his contribution to the sport in the first 50 years in the state, the younger Metcalf played for his dad at the former Vilaf High School in his hometown of Alstead, N.H.
After helping lead his team to the state Class C championship as a senior, Metcalf entered the service before enrolling at Keene Teacher's College, where he played two years for Owl basketball coach Sumner Joyce. Fondly remembering Joyce as a coach with a heart of gold, Metcalf was also influenced by Keith King, a dynamic professor in the College's athletic department, who helped teach him about the intricacies of the sport when it came to strategy and game situations.
Earning his degree in industrial education, Metcalf didn't have to wait long before finding his first teaching/coaching job, at the Austine School for the Deaf in Brattleboro, Vt., where he accepted the challenge of starting the school's first interscholastic basketball learn. Metcalf later moved to Lebanon High School, serving as the J.V. coach for four seasons, he was ready to answer the call when the head coaching position became available in 1964.
Thirty-two years and 507 wins later, Metcalf's record speaks for itself. Turning around a fledging Lebanon High program, Metcalf help put the Raiders on the N.H. high school basketball map. His teams qualified 28 times for the Class I State Tournament, reaching the finals on eight occasions and winning the championship in 1967 and 1980. When the final basket was recorded in the scorebook following his final coaching victory two years ago, Metcalf had not only posted the most wins in the Class I Tournament, but had also recorded the most victories by a high school coach in the states of New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont.
"It was a fantastic ride," Metcalf reflected on his career. "The support from the kids and the entire Lebanon community made it a special experience."
"He had a tremendous dedication to the game and to his students, "said former Lebanon High Athletic Director Chuck Chamley. "The fact that so many of his players come back and still follow the program reflects greatly on his impact."
Lebanon High School basketball was a family affair for the Metcalfs. From his wife, Beverlv, who served as cheerleading coach, to daughter Terri, a Raider Cheerleader, and son Chip, who played at LHS in the late 70s, the Metcalfs became, a part of the community.
Metcalf also has found time over the years to maintain his ties with Keene State. Whether he was holding a clinic or attending a game and watching son-in-law Keith Boucher's women's Owl team, Metcalf always found a way to give back to the sport that has been a major part of his life.
It only seems appropriate when it came time to dedicate its gymnasium last spring that Lebanon High School would name the facility after their longtime basketball coach. "That honor usually doesn't go to a teacher or coach," said Jim Wechler, a member of the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce and a former assistant to Metcalf. "That certainly says a good deal about his contribution to this school and town."