DANVERS — Brian St. Pierre has been on four NFL rosters, worked his way into the record books at Boston College, and quarterbacked the 1997 St. John’s Prep to a Super Bowl victory that capped an 11-0 season.
But last season, his first as an assistant coach under Jim O’Leary, was as much fun as any.
Now, St. Pierre will have the chance to follow in the footsteps of his former coach, as he was named head coach of St. John’s Prep Friday.
“I felt the time was right to throw my hat in and get into coaching,” St. Pierre said. “When you play as long as I did, the business side starts to take over the further you get. Here, the kids are here because they love it, and they’re playing for pure reasons, and I miss that part of it. It’s great to be back around it.”
O’Leary stepped down after 30 years at the helm, in which he compiled a 207-110-2 record, and won state championships in 1997 and 2012. O’Leary, who succeeded Fred Glatz as head coach in 1984, was named athletic director in 1999, and will continue in that role.
St. Pierre is the program’s third coach since 1967. He also said the rest of O’Leary’s coaching staff will return for the 2014 season.
O’Leary said he’s stepping down because his role is expanding as AD, especially with the Prep’s middle school opening in 2015.
Before O’Leary introduced St. Pierre, he thanked the administration, his coaching staff, and all the players he’s coached throughout the years, as well as his family, particularly his wife Dorris.
“Being a football wife is a very difficult thing,” O’Leary said. “They raise the kids in the fall. I’ve missed a lot of weddings, birthday parties, family events — I never missed a game since 1965 on a Saturday. I couldn’t do it without Dorris’s support.’’
St. Pierre, 34, said he had coaching offers in the NFL and the NCAA, mulled this opportunity because he knew the stress that came with it. But coaching at the Prep presented a perfect chance for St. Pierre, who has his wife and two children close by.
“All I ever wanted to do was play football and play quarterback,” St. Pierre said. “I was fortunate to do it as long as I did. I loved coaching, I wanted to coach, but I didn’t want to put my family through what you do at other levels. This is still a huge commitment here, but it keeps my family around, the stability, my family and my wife’s family are all from the area.”
With Prep’s history and by playing in the competitive Catholic Conference, St. Pierre knows he has his work cut out for him.
“I understand the responsibility before me, Coach Glatz and Coach O’Leary created such a winning tradition here,” St. Pierre said. “I’m excited to get going with the process. I love being around football.”