LYNN — The St. Mary’s football team will get a taste of the Winthrop football tradition when Sean Driscoll takes over in the fall for Matt Durgin.
Driscoll, an 11-year veteran on the sidelines for the Vikings, was appointed Tuesday to take the place of Durgin, who resigned at the end of January after 10 seasons in the position.
Since the 1970s, Winthrop has had only three coaches — Bobby DeFelice, Anthony Fucillo and Driscoll. As the smallest school in the Northeastern Conference, the Vikings have always prided themselves in holding their own against the much bigger opponents.
Driscoll was no exception. As recently as four seasons ago, in 2014, the Vikings won 10 games, took the title in their division of the Northeastern Conference, and made it to the Division 4 North final.
Driscoll has spent 25 years coaching football, including many as an assistant under Fucillo. The director of parks and recreation in Winthrop, Driscoll was not retained after the 2017 season, in which a very young Viking team that hadn’t played a home game in two seasons went 2-9.
“I love coaching football and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to coach at St. Mary’s,” said Driscoll, a close friend of Durgin. “When I heard that Matt was stepping down, I took a look at the St. Mary’s position, and everyone I talked to had nothing but positive things to say about the academics at the school and the athletic program.”
“We feel very fortunate to attract a coach the caliber of Sean Driscoll,” St. Mary’s Athletic Director Jeff Newhall said. “We’re very confident he will carry on the tradition of excellence established by Matt.”
Newhall said there were 27 applicants for the job, including five current or former varsity coaches and a college assistant coach.
A lifelong Winthrop resident who played high school football for the legendary DeFelice, Driscoll began his coaching career under Shawn Maguire in 1993. After five years as an assistant in Burlington, he worked as an assistant to Fucillo in Winthrop from 1998-2006, serving as a line coach and defensive coordinator. Driscoll succeeded Fucillo as head coach in 2007.
“I followed a great coach in 2007 and I’m following a great coach now,” said Driscoll. “Matt and I have very similar philosophies. Football has been very good to me and it’s a good character builder for kids.”
While he has never coached at a private school, Driscoll is looking forward to it.
“St. Mary’s is like its own little community and family,” he said. “Matt had nothing but great things to say about the school, as did David Brown (St. Mary’s boys basketball coach and a Winthrop police officer, who also coached boys basketball in the town before taking over the Spartans’ program).”
Driscoll, who was to meet with the St. Mary’s team for the first time today, said his first priority will be to get to know the players.
“There are kids from different communities and different backgrounds,” he said. “I’m looking forward to establishing relationships.”
Driscoll and his wife, Cindy, have three children: Dylan, a junior at Plymouth State University; Caylyn, a senior at Winthrop High who will attend Clemson University; and Olivia, a sophomore at Winthrop High.
St. Mary’s is coming off two successful seasons. In 2016, the Spartans made the Division 3 Super Bowl (when the format was 1, 1A, 2, 2A, etc.). This past season, the Spartans made the state Division 7 semifinal before falling to Mashpee.