BEVERLY — With a new college football season on the horizon at Endicott, first-year head coach Paul McGonagle is eager to kick things into gear.
Named the third head coach in program history, McGonagle has 18 years of college coaching experience. McGonagle first arrived at the Beverly campus in 2011 as an offensive associate coach. He held that role at Division III Endicott for two seasons before joining the coaching staff at Division II Assumption. McGonagle spent the past five seasons as Assumption’s associate head coach/offensive coordinator.
McGonagle re-joined the Gulls in December when he was hired to replace former head coach Kevin DeWall. The team started preseason camp last weekend and the 2018 roster was announced Thursday. McGonagle feels as though things have gone well thus far.
“Things are going great,” McGonagle, who resides in Reading, said. “Obviously we had crazy weather to start camp. The clouds and rain are tough but things are going well. Players were working really hard and they came back in great shape.”
With a new coaching staff directing the program, McGonagle foresees plenty of adjustments to be made throughout the preseason. But solid leadership from captains and seniors, has allowed the Gulls to close the gap on the learning curve and gain familiarity with the new coaches on a daily basis.
“The players are adjusting to our coaching style and we’re adjusting to their style,” McGonagle, who played college football at Division I Kentucky, said. “They’re definitely working hard. We have great leadership from our captains and seniors. We were in full pads for the first time Wednesday and the heat came out but they did a good job pushing through.”
McGonagle’s tenure at Division II Assumption included a number of impressive feats. During his five years on the Greyhounds’ coaching staff, the team went 44-16 overall and 36-9 in Northeast-10 Conference play. Assumption won two Northeast-10 Conference titles and earned three NCAA Division II Tournament bids during McGonagle’s five-year stint.
He helped coach Assumption to an 11-2 finish in 2017, a season in which the Greyhounds reached the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. The 2017 Greyhounds set a program record for points per game (43.4).
“I loved Assumption and I had a great time,” McGonagle said.” I loved the players there. It was a great five-year run.
“I’ve always believed that actions speak louder than words,” McGonagle said. “I left a Top-10 Division II program. Hopefully that shows what I think about this college and this community.”
McGonagle helped recruit a handful of North Shore area players to Assumption, including former Peabody High Star running back Doug Santos and former Malden Catholic quarterback Brendan Tobey. On the defensive side of the ball, the Greyhounds featured two more locals last season in Revere’s Kaleb Silva (safety) and Lynnfield’s Christopher Finn (linebacker).
He hopes to build a strong recruiting pipeline for North Shore players at Endicott.
“One of our goals here at Endicott is we always want to take care of our home base,” McGonagle said. “You always want to get the best talent in your backyard. We have a few freshman players from the area. We have kids from Lynn, Saugus, Marblehead, Melrose. We always want to try our best to take care of the home base.”
As for his coaching style, McGonagle said teaching is at the forefront.
“I just try to be me,” McGonagle said. “I think coaching is teaching, you’re a teacher first. As much as you want things to be perfect, a big part of coaching is showing you care outside of running a perfect offense, defense or special teams. At the end of the day we as a staff care about the players and we’re very honest in the way we coach and recruit.”
The Gulls will continue their preseason stretch through the next few weeks in preparing for the season opener on Sept. 1 at Framingham State.