One of Brian Vaughan’s first orders of business as the new head football coach at Boston English High will be to print up T-shirts that read “Beat Latin.”
“I think small things like that just build pride in kids,” Vaughan said of the T-shirts, a reference to English’s Thanksgiving rival.
The coach at Pope John in Everett for the last four coach, who was hired at Boston English on Tuesday, was speaking shortly after meeting with his new players for the first time.
“When kids think they are going to achieve some sort of goal they take more pride in it,” he added.
Named the Boston Globe’s Division 3 Player of the Year in 1990, the former Lynn English running back went on to play for Northeastern University. One of his assistant coaches at Northeastern was Tom Lamb, the legendary coach of Doug Flutie at Natick High who has been an assistant at Boston English for the last two seasons.
Lamb headed up the search for English’s new coach after the school’s former coach Chris Boswell was released from the position last month. Lamb said 35 coaches applied for the position and about eight or 9 were interviewed for the job.
“He’s a great kid, very special kid, very determined,” Lamb said of Vaughan. “He was also a very good player, but very special kid. So when he was interested in the job we talked to Pope John and talked to some different people and they all had glowing things to say about him. He’s a great person and also a great coach. And he runs an exciting offense and defense too so that’s another plus that the kids are excited about. We’re all excited.”
The 39-year-old, who served seven seasons as an assistant coach at Lynn English from 2000 to 2008, said his relationship with Lamb will help ease his transition into the new job.
“That’s huge, coach lamb gave me an opportunity to play college football,” he said. “If you look at me, I’m not that big of a guy, so a lot of college recruiters, even though I was successful in high school, with my height, people backed off a little bit. I’m 5-5, what can I say. Coach Lamb and Coach Barry Gallup at Northeastern gave me the opportunity to play college football and I’ll always owe him for that.
“Having him on the staff is excellent because everybody knows Coach Lamb is a legend. He’s going to make me a better coach, make my coaching staff a better coaching staff. He’s definitely going to make the kids better football players, actually better student athletes. I think it’s huge because he’s already given me information on kids he’s build relationships with. That’s a huge attribute and that gives me one leg up in that area.” Vaughan, who teaches history and physical education at Pope John, is also familiar with Boston English because he worked in the schools special education department about three years ago. He said it’s been his dream to coach in a Boston public school.
“I did four years there, I loved Pope John, I loved the community there, I loved the staff there,” he said. “It was just one of those things, watching a lot of high school football, I always said I would love the opportunity to coach in Boston public. I just think there’s so much talent here and if you could try to do the things that you wanted to do and implement them in one of the schools, I think you could do something.
“I know it’s going to be challenging. I know it’s going to be hard but it’s worth it. I think it’s worth it if you can come here and some type of success, even if that success is changing the attitude of the kids.”
English finished this past season 3-7 but the team did record its first non-forfeit victory since 2009, a 14-6 win against New Mission.
After starting the season with 24 players, the injury plague squad only had 17 players on Thanksgiving Day against Latin, a game English lost 44-15.
About 16 students attended Friday afternoon’s meeting with Vaughan, who said a few more kids told him they couldn’t make it.
“He’s a good coach, I can tell he’s a good coach and he’s going to help to make us better,” junior wide receiver Gabriel Pacheco said after the meeting. “I can’t wait to start practicing with him.”
Pacheco was particularly close with Boswell and often helped the old coach scout games.
“For me it’s hard, I have to move on, life is never fair,” Pacheco said of Boswell, who coached three seasons at English. “It was hard for me when I heard the news.” While 16 players might seem like a small amount of players to attend a first meeting with a new coach, Vaughan said only six players showed up for his first meeting at Pope John four years ago.
That team ended up winning 9 games but had to forfeit three or four of those games because they used an ineligible player.
The next two seasons they went 8-3 and made the playoffs. Last season Pope John finished 5-6.
Despite having success at Pope John with his no-huddle spread offense, Vaughan ultimately couldn’t pass up the opportunity to coach the first public high school in the United States. He’s also looking forward to coaching against the first public school in the country in the nation’s longest consecutive high school football rivalry.
But beating Latin on Thanksgiving Day will take more than just printing up a bunch of T-shirts. English has only beat Latin once since 1981 and has lost the last 14 meetings between the two schools.
“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “I’ll tell you right now it’s going to be an uphill battle. They do a good job over there. We got our hands full. That’s the challenge of coaching. I don’t want an easy coaching job. I want to be in a place where it’s going to be challenging. It will make you a better coach.”