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December 15, 2012

Introducing Eagle-Tribune Fall Coaches of the Year

Football: O’Connor leading Hillies back to prominence

Burly Haverhill High football coach Tim O’Connor admitted he was nearly brought to tears last week at the Hillies’ banquet when All-Scholastic running back Chance Brady spoke of the close relationship the two share.

Brady isn’t the only one singing the praises of the fourth-year Hillie coach.

Just a season removed from snapping a 32-game losing streak, Haverhill finished 8-3 and was a legitimate contender for the MVC Division 2 crown.

The eight wins equalled the most by a Haverhill team since The Eagle-Tribune began keeping records in 1981, matching the 2001 team’s mark (also 8-3). It also exceeded the last five years combined (6 wins).

“I’m not making any predictions,” the Haverhill High history teacher said in the preseason. “But I will tell you that the days of 0-32 are over. That’s for sure.”

Hired by the Hillies in June of 2010 at age 35, the former St. John’s Prep and Wesleyan University captain assisted at Malden Catholic, Peabody, Malden and Marblehead before arriving in Haverhill. The Hillies made a major jump last season, going 4-7 after two straight winless seasons.

“Coach O. was always behind me good or bad,” said three-year starting QB Tommy Morgan during the season. “When things were going bad, he would say to me, ‘I know you will be a good quarterback.’ That meant a lot to me, and I owe so much to him.”

Previous Coaches of the Year

2011: Bill Raycraft, Windham; 2010: E.J. Perry, Andover; 2009: Jack Gati, Salem; 2008: Pat Graham, Methuen; 2007: Tony Sarkis, Gr. Lawrence; 2006: Brian O’Reilly, Pinkerton; 2005: Kevin Bradley, Whittier; 2004: Ken Maglio, Andover; 2003: Jim Pugh, Masconomet; 2002: Jack Gati, Salem; 2001: Ken Sciacca, Haverhill

Boys Cross Country: Smith a worthy successor to a legend

After this fall, one would have to say that Matt Smith is a worthy successor to legendary Londonderry coach Larry Martin.

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