A record setting quarterback during his playing days at College of the Siskiyous, Les Courtemanche was scheduled to arrive in France June 24 to begin preparing for a Friendship and Charity game against a French national team
He’s a coach and teacher now, but Les Courtemanche is ready to play some football again, and he’s going all the way to France to do it.
A record setting quarterback who is now an assistant coach at College of the Siskiyous in Weed, Courtemanche will soon be suiting up with Team USA to face the Nice Dolphins in a “competitive Friendship and Charity Game” scheduled for July 5.
Playing American football in Europe won’t be new for Courtemanche, although this will be his first visit to France.
He previously played with Team USA in charity games in Vienna and Norway, and he played for two seasons in the European Football League with the Graz Giants.
Though he hasn’t played a game in two years, Courtemanche isn’t worried about returning to the fray.
“I’ve been staying in good shape,” he said. “The competition is not like pro level here; it’s more like semi-pro level; it’s good, but not quite as hyped-up.”
Team USA coach and director Rudy L. Wyland, however, sent a letter out to his players stressing the importance of being “fully prepared and in shape both mentally and physically.”
Wyland said the Dolphins, who moved up to the Elite I level in the French Federation after winning a national championship two years ago, “will be very motivated and highly prepared for the game.”
Courtemanche, who set two COS season records for passing and four career marks as the Eagles’ quarterback in 1998-99, expects to share Team USA’s quarterbacking duties in Nice.
He also expects to enjoy what will amount to an expense-paid vacation.
“It’s great to still compete, make good friends, travel with them and check out the sites and culture of different places,” Courtemanche said of his football-playing sojourns to Europe.
Though he’s been all around France, Courtemanche said this will be his first visit to a country he’s always wanted to see.
To do it, he’ll have to take some time off from his busy schedule at COS, where he is an assistant football coach, works as an adjunct instructor, as the director of student services and assistant director of housing.
He returned to COS four years ago after finishing his college football career at Humboldt State and playing two seasons for the Graz Giants of the EFL?in Austria, where he earned All-Europe honorable mention honors in 2005.
He played on a Graz team that was coached by his former COS coach, Phil Maas.
In Nice, he’ll be getting back together with many of his past Team USA teammates.
They’re scheduled to arrive in France on June 24 and practice for 10 days before the game on July 5.
Courtemanche is a seasoned veteran in big games, having led Siskiyous to one of its best seasons ever and an Elks Bowl victory.
He left Weed with season records for passing yards (1,937) and touchdowns (18) and the career marks for yards (3,548) attempts (454), completions (204) and touchdowns (28).
As for this fall’s team at College of the Siskiyous, Courtemanche is optimistic. He and other coaches have expressed their approval of the arrival of former Shasta College defensive coordinator Doug Atkins, who will fill that same role for the Eagles.
Courtemanche, who has filled a variety of coaching positions for the Siskiyous offense, said he’s looking forward to seeing what former Mount Shasta running back and Northern Section record holder Patrick Lunney does this fall.
He also pointed to the Eagles’ strong offensive line.
“I?think we’ll be strong,”?he said.