By Phil Stacey
---- — Sean Rogers, who guided the Danvers High football team to its first conference championship in eight years last fall, has resigned as the school’s head football coach.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Rogers, a health education teacher at Danvers High. “It was tough telling the team (yesterday).”
Rogers coached the Falcons for the past four years, amassing an overall record of 17-26. The Falcons improved each season, going from 1-9 in 2010 to 4-7 in 2011 and 5-6 in 2012.
This past fall, that trend continued as Danvers won the Northeastern Conference South championship with a 5-0 league record and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Rogers was named the NEC South’s Coach of the Year as the Falcons finished 7-4 overall.
“You talk to the team about dedication and family and commitment all the time, and then I have to tell them I’m not going to be around next year to work with them,” said Rogers. “That’s very difficult for me. But I thought they handled the news very well; they’re outstanding young men that respected my decision.”
Hired as the Falcons’ head coach in June 2010, Rogers had been an assistant coach at the school for three seasons under former coach and current athletic director John Sullivan prior to his appointment.
“Sean had a very good career here that progressed yearly and resulted in a league championship this past season,” Sullivan said. “He’s decided that he wanted to move on from Danvers, so we wish him the best of luck.”
“I want to thank Sean for everything he’s done for Danvers football,” added Danvers High School principal Susan Ambrozavitch.
Rogers made it clear that the support he received from the athletic department at Danvers High, particularly Sullivan, was “phenomenal”, as well as from the boosters and team parents. He also stated he loved working with Danvers’ football players.
“The tutelage that John Sullivan has given me the last seven years (including time Rogers spent as an assistant football coach under Sullivan) was invaluable to me,” Rogers said.
This past season was especially rewarding for Rogers, from his team’s upset home win over defending Super Bowl champion Beverly in Week 2 (following a shutout loss to Marblehead in their opener to week before) to his team clinching the school’s second-ever playoff berth and winning the NEC South crown.
The tragic events of Danvers High teacher Colleen Ritzer being murdered last October brought the tight knit Danvers community even closer; Rogers said those horrible days afterwards saw his own team pull together “and get much closer as a family. I thought it was a defining moment, something that strengthened the bond of our team for a lot of our kids.”
Rogers, who is engaged, said he would like to coach again if the right situation came up. He’ll still have the chance to work with several of his football players in spring track, which he also coaches.
He also stated he believes the team’s 2014 captains — Richie Martino, Nick Andreas, Chris Behen and Cris Valles — will step up and fill the leadership gap until a new coach can be appointed. “I have no doubt those four guys will keep the offseason conditioning going and be great leaders for the entire program,” he said.