After last Saturday night’s 40-22 Division 1 Super Bowl victory by St. John’s Prep over Catholic Memorial, coach Brian St. Pierre is able to put a few serious notches on his belt.
For starters, St. Pierre has now played on a Super Bowl winner (1997) and coached another. He can also claim credit for being at the helm when the Eagles finally beat the Road Runner to The Prep’s Wile E. Coyote — coach John DiBiaso — in a game that mattered.
DiBiaso has been a thorn in the Eagles’ side more often than anyone can count. He — and the Everett football team — have tortured The Prep repeatedly. And no time was it worse than in 2002, when the Eagles had what was viewed as the best team in the state. That didn’t matter to DiBiaso. He and the Crimson Tide broke their hearts in Brockton at the Super Bowl.
Both St. Pierre (who was not the coach or on the team for that game) and Jim O’Leary (who was the coach) have been left standing there several times while DiBiaso and his boys jumped up and down celebrating.
So what does St. Pierre do for an encore now that he’s exorcised the school’s No. 1 athletic demon? Does he stay at The Prep and rule over the next high school dynasty? Or does he challenge himself again and move up the ladder?
Those who know St. Pierre can attest to the fact that he loves the challenge. He’s said on several occasions that St. John’s is a special place, and that people go there for the challenge of playing the best.
But St. Pierre isn’t just a St. John’s Prep Eagle. He’s a Boston College Eagle too, was the starter in 2001 and 2002, and led team to bowl victories in successive seasons (including being the MVP of the Motor City Bowl in Detroit in his senior year). He graduated as the third-leading passer in the school’s history (this was before Matt Ryan’s tenure, though).
It’s possible that BC might be looking for new coach in the near future. A season-ending three-game losing streak turned what was once a promising season — in which the Eagles climbed into the national rankings — into a disappointing 7-5 record. Speculation began after a loss to Syracuse that coach Steve Addazio might be out of a job.
The Eagles made a bowl game, the First Responders Bowl in Dallas, against Boise State. But even that might not be enough.
Really? The Acme/Kick-the-Tire Bowl was filled?
If Addazio is on his way out, and if it’s a challenge that whets the appetite of Brian St. Pierre, he should immediately put in for the job. He’ll get one.
First, and perhaps foremost, St. Pierre is at an age (approaching 40) where most coaches destined for greatness are well along that path. Nobody walks into head coach’s job at Alabama or Clemson. There’s usually a stop or two along the way.
Prep graduate Brian Kelly, who will bring Notre Dame into the national championship semifinal against Clemson later this month, coached at Grand Valley State and Central Michigan before getting a shot at the big-time with Cincinnati. From there, he moved onto Notre Dame.
As of this writing, Kelly is 57. He was already a head coach at Grand Valley at age 30.
At this point in its football existence, BC needs to see itself as a stepping-stone school, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. I’m sure Addazio took the job with something bigger in mind, as did Jeff Jagodzinski in 2007.
St. Pierre spent eight years in the National Football League, finishing up in 2010 as a backup, and was on the Arizona Cardinals’ roster for Super Bowl 43 (2009). He was an astute student of the game as a player for the Cardinals, so much so that offensive coordinator Todd Haley often solicited his advice.
There are other reasons to advocate for him than football, though. Boston College needs someone such as St. Pierre, who understands the school’s ethic as an academics-first school. As someone who has thrived at St. John’s under a similar mission, he understands that academic priorities and athletic ambitions are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The Prep’s priorities are certainly rooted in its longstanding academic reputation too. Yet the Eagles are celebrating a state championship today by winning at the highest level the state has.
This wouldn’t be a case of Gerry Faust going from Moeller High to Notre Dame in one jump. St. Pierre has extensive experience in all levels of football, and is possessed with a keen sense of perspective and priority.
He’d be a perfect fit at Chestnut Hill.