Brooks School recently made a new hire as head football coach, tapping Pat Foley, an experienced veteran with almost a decade of college coaching experience.
Foley, a Newburyport native and Bates College graduate, comes to the North Andover campus after four years as co-defensive coordinator at Colgate University. Prior to that, Foley had stops at Allegheny (Penn.) College, Amherst College and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He is also the son of current UConn offensive line coach Mike Foley, considered one of New England's best recruiters.
Monday night, Foley chatted with ESPNBoston.com about coming back to the high school ranks, his lineage as a "football lifer", and the rebuilding challenge with a program that has gone 1-23 since the beginning of the 2010 season.
Why he came back to the high school ranks: "It was really two big things. First was, I had coached in college for 9 years now, absolutely loved the football part of it, but I was looking for a way to be more involved with other aspects of kids lives I think. At the college level, it got to a point where the only interaction I had with kids was on the football side, between practices and team meetings. At Brooks, I'll be more involved in other aspects of their lives. The second thing, seeing the campus and everyting, it's a great place live and raise a family, and that's something I look forward to as well."
On growing up around football with his father: "It was great, growing up around college football. It's obviously a time-consuming thing, there were certain things where he was away from home a lot. But as a young kid that really liked football, I got some awesome opportunities to be around it. I got to see the inside of things that a lot of kids probably don't get the opportunity to see."
His offensive philosophy: "I think in order to be successful you have to be able to run the ball. I understand a lot of offenses are going to the spread thing, but teams can be spread and run the ball. I think you have to be able to run the ball, whether it's out of spread looks or going under center. We're not gonna be one of these teams that throws the ball 55 times a game. We may have spread elements, but it is to run the ball first and foremost."
On the ISL going forward: I think it's a great league. As a college coach, I recruited all of the New England states so I got to see talent all over the place. I got to experience first hand the caliber and type of student you can recruit [in this league], all the ISL schools have great players. A lot of times they may get overlooked, but it's on the rise. The players and competition are only going to get better. At Brooks we hope we can be on the top side of the curve, and increase the talent level there and everything."
Assessing the talent at Brooks: "I'm going into it with a totally open mind. I'm hoping to meet the team later this week, and I'm going in with an open mind. Obviously they've struggled the last few years, but I'm going in with a totally open mind. Between now and when I get on the practice field for the first time, I'm not gonna put too much weight on the past, and see how the guys do moving forward."