By Gianna Addario
---- — After eight seasons as the head football coach at Ipswich High School, Ted Flaherty has decided to resign from the position.
A former Ipswich High standout in the 1970s, Flaherty called it his “dream job” and debated long and hard before coming to the decision to step down after eight seasons with the Tigers.
“I started feeling like it was time last year,” said the 54-year-old Flaherty. “It was something that was important to me and too large to think about it in one sitting. I watched myself and saw that it was time. I didn’t know for sure, but I had a feeling (this past) August when the season started up again.
“There’s no one particular reason why; my personal life and the time commitment, I’d say. I only knew how to coach one way, and that was with my heart and soul. I couldn’t give less than 100 percent — and it just got hard to balance everything. As you grow older, your life changes and you have different responsibilities.”
Flaherty’s coaching highlight at his alma mater was coaching the 2006 Super Bowl squad to the Division 3A championship, with the Tigers defeating Cape Cod Tech 7-0 in the finale, for the school’s fourth Super Bowl crown. It was the program’s first since 1992.
A 1976 Ipswich grad himself, Flaherty finished with a 26-60 mark as head coach.
He had the opportunity to play under legendary coach Jack Welch, who retired in 2000 after 36 years at the helm and 224 career wins. Rollie Hinckley replaced Welch before Flaherty took over for Hinckley.
“I’m very proud of my roots and the culture here in town,” Flaherty said. “I felt like I had to continue what coach Welch built here.
“It’s going to be very strange not to coach anymore. I’ll still go to the games, though; my son (Eddie) will be a junior on next year’s team, and I want to watch him play.”
Flaherty, who has taught physical education in Amesbury for 20 years, will continue to coach the Ipswich High freshman boys basketball and freshman baseball teams.
Although the search for a replacement coach hasn’t begun yet, athletic Director Tom Gallagher said he anticipated the lengthy interview process will start sometime after the first of the year.
“We’re going to try to find the best candidate for the job,” Gallagher said. “We’re hoping to find a good coach that fits with our program.”