By Dave Dyer
---- — Pat Foley is, by nature, an optimist. But he’s also a realist.
The new football coach at Brooks, who was hired last week, knows that he won’t be able to turn the program around at Brooks, which went 1-23 on the gridiron over the last three years, without support from the administration. Fortunately, he feels strongly that he has that support.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but from discussions on campus with the head of the school on down, everyone seems to want a successful football program and is extremely confident that the challenge can be met,” said the 30-year-old Foley.
“That was encouraging to me. If I hadn’t gotten that feeling, I wouldn’t have taken the job.”
Foley, who grew up and played high school football in Newburyport, comes to Brooks after spending four years as an assistant coach at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. That followed three years as an assistant at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and shorter stints at both Amherst College and Allegheny College.
It’s a bit unusual to take over a prep school program after spending one’s entire career coaching on the college level, but Foley believes that his experiences as a recruiting coordinator at both Colgate and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy led him to Brooks.
“I recruited New England while being a college coach and I went to a number of prep schools,” said Foley, who has been a defensive coordinator for much of his coaching career. “I enjoy working with young people at this stage and it looked like a great place to work and raise a family.”
Foley will also work in the admissions office, which will help him attract more student-athletes to Brooks. Most of Brooks’ opponents in the Independent School League have been more successful in attracting talent and Foley knows that, to be competitive, Brooks must do a better job in that area.
“It’s up to me to bring in student-athletes who can help our program,” he said. “It’s my job to find kids who are good students who can fit in at Brooks and who also have some (athletic) ability.
“I think I can do that. I like recruiting, meeting young people and their parents, and I’ve been at schools where academics are very important and come first, so I know what it takes.”
Football-wise, Foley believes that to be successful “you have to be good on defense, you have to run the football and you have to be good on special teams.”
As far as his main responsibility, in addition to his role as admissions counselor, Foley believes that “the most important thing is to bring energy to the program. I want to be an example and show a lot of energy and make sure the program is fun.”
While this may be Foley’s first head coaching experience, it’s definitely one that he’s prepared for. Because his father, Mike, has been a football coach for nearly 30 years and is currently an assistant at UConn, the profession is in his blood.
“As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a coach,” said Foley, who plans on moving to the Brooks campus with his wife and 2-week-old daughter in July. “I grew up around football and I’ve always loved it.”
Meet Pat Foley New position: Brooks head football coach and admission counselor Age; 30 High School: Newburyport (two-year starter, co-captain as senior) College: Bates College: (4-year starter, tri-captain and all-conference as senior) Coaching experience: Colgate University assistant (since 2009), U.S. Merchant Marine Academy assistant (2006-2009), Amherst College assistant (2005-2006), Alleghenny College assistant (2004-2005) Nice to know: Cousin on his mother's side is Merrimack College record-setting quarterback Joe Clancy; Cousin on father's side is Tim Freirmuth, a Pentucket standout headed to Springfield College next year