After 24 winning seasons, nine Catholic Conference titles, six Super Bowl appearances – including two Super Bowl titles – St. John’s Prep head coach Jim O’Leary called it a career back in January.
The Eagles stayed close to home to find his successor.
“You find a home here, it’s a vocation, not a job,” said O’Leary.
He’ll be the first to tell you that he misses coaching – his players, the practices, the traditions, and the rivalries. But after 30 outstanding seasons as the head coach of St. John’s prep, O’Leary handed the reins over to Brian St. Pierre.
“No there wasn’t any advice, I said, ‘are you sure you want to do this?'” O’Leary said.
“To be the next guy in line, it’s a heavy responsibility, but it’s one I cherish, I feel very fortunate to be the guy here,” St. Pierre said.
He is just the third Eagles head coach since 1967.
“I’m very fiery, my kids will tell you that, very intense. I get very very excited about the game, I love the game and I love surrounding myself with guys that love the game,” he said.
And it was at St. John’s Prep where he first discovered his love for the game. St. Pierre played for O’Leary and was a stand-out quarterback for the Eagles. He went on to play at Boston College and eight years in the NFL. But playing for O’Leary is an experience he’ll never forget and will always be thankful for.
“He believed in people, he believed in his kids. He took a chance on me early,” St. Pierre said.
O’Leary always felt St. Pierre had the qualities to be a head coach, and handing the job over to him made it a little easier to step away after three decades at the help.
“It’s not the games I miss because I’m at the games anyways watching. I’m just not getting yelled at one the sideline anymore. He is and I kinda chuckle about that a little bit,” O’Leary said.
He remains close to the football program as he’s Prep’s athletic director.