SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

January 17, 2014

O'Leary steps down as St. John's Prep football coach; new coach to be named today

After 30 years as the head coach of the St. John’s Prep football team, including more than 200 victories and a pair of Super Bowl championships, Jim O’Leary is stepping down.

A press conference is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. today at the school, where a new head football coach will be named. O’Leary will continue in his position as athletic director at the Danvers parochial school.

“I’m not going anywhere. I’ll still be here as AD,” said O’Leary, who will retire as football coach with a career record of 207-106-2 at St. John’s. His teams won state Super Bowl titles in 1997 and 2012 and reached the Super Bowl four other times.

After the 2013 season ended, O’Leary said he was going to take a few months to decide if he would come back as coach or not. Although he would not specify his reasons why, his office released a statement yesterday saying that he was stepping down and a new coach would be named this morning.

“In my 42 years of coaching (including a dozen with former head coach and Prep AD Fred Glatz), I never missed a game,” said O’Leary, a UNH graduate who lives in Groveland with his family. “Football is my passion, but I can now spend the time I devoted to football doing all the things an athletic director has to do. I’m good with this decision.”

In addition to the success his teams have enjoyed the past 30 seasons, many of O’Leary’s former players have gone on to play college football; others even into coaching themselves. The most high profile ex-Eagle now coaching is Bill O’Brien, the former Patriots’ offensive coach and Penn State head coach who was recently named the Houston Texans’ newest head coach.

“He’s the reason I wanted to be a coach,” Ryan Leahy, who is in the St. John’s Prep Hall of Fame and currently an assistant baseball coach at the school, said of O’Leary. “I had a great personal experience learning how to handle situations from seeing the way he did (it). He served as a role model for me and we’re still good friends.”

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