His sideline swagger — and the fact that he’s held Pinkerton at or near the top of Division 1 since Mihalko, Joe Segreti and the rest of the mid-80s crew busted in for title No. 1 in 1985 — have left a target on his back at all times.
Yet the guy has done little but prosper and produce quality teams and quality kids, year in and year out.
“It does literally seem like yesterday, And it’s a little unsettling when you think about it, like we just did that,” said O’Reilly. “You look back, and what we’ve accomplished is hard to imagine.”
O’Reilly came to Pinkerton fresh out of Bridgewater State, where he didn’t play football and never knew lacrosse existed.
He was a track athlete for the Bears and actually tried coaching it at Pinkerton for one season.
“Track was a great sport to participate in, but I had no desire to coach it,” he said.
A freshman football coach for one year and then a varsity line assistant for two more, he was introduced to lax by Dick Bly, who brought the game to Pinkerton in the 1960s.
In his fourth fall at Pinkerton, he took over the football team with two games left when the head coach at the time moved on. At the same time, he learned lacrosse from the basics of stick work all the way up.
At the age of 25, Pinkerton headmaster Brad Ek entrusted O’Reilly to head up two major varsity sports.
“I owe it all to him, all the opportunities, my entire teaching and coaching career,” said O’Reilly. “I didn’t have much of a resume. But once you get foot in the door, and you show people what you cane do. Teaching is teaching, whether it’s coaching or in the classroom. Resumes and all the other stuff is just superfluous.”