Stepping Down, Part I: Trisciani resigns as BG football coach
NASHUA – Those who spent a lot of time around Bishop Guertin High School head football coach John Trisciani this season could tell something was a little different.
To be blunt, he simply didn’t seem as though he was having as much fun coaching a Division I contender as he was when he first took the job in rebuilding mode five years ago.
Thus for some, it wasn’t a surprise on Tuesday night when Trisciani told his players in a team exit meeting that he was stepping down after five seasons as the Cardinals head coach. The school made it official on Wednesday, sending out an email to the parents.
“I don’t know if there’s ever a good time, and it’s certainly a tough decision,” Triciani said. “It certainly gets a lot harder teaching in the school.
“When I first applied, I felt I was the best person for the job, and I was pretty well-versed in some of the challenges that were there, and had a lot of optimism approaching that first year. You have an idea of where you want to get the program to.
“This is Year Five, and the reality sets in, too. Some of the challenges that are there, I don’t necessarily think I could overcome some of them. And you kind of lose some of that optimism that you had early on.”
Thus Trisciani, who does teach at the school, steps away after two back-to-back 7-2 regular seasons and Division I quarterfinal appearances. The Cards, after getting the program’s first postseason win since 2014, fell 14-12 to Pinkerton last Friday night in this year’s quarters. His teams overall went 25-20 with four postseason appearances, three of his five years winning seasons. And that overall mark is after a 2-7 first year, so the program was certainly in good hands.
“You try to be honest with yourself at the end of each year,” Trisciani said. “I don’t have that same feeling that I’m necessarily the best person for the job. As hard as that is, I think the kids deserve to have a coach to come in with a lot of energy, a lot of positivity and new ideas.”
Trisciani said he almost stepped away at the end of last season, but opted to give it one more year, and see how he felt. Things didn’t change.
Thus, he figured this was the best time to give the Guertin administration plenty of time to find a successor and also be able to let the players know before they scattered to the off-season.
What’s next? In an email sent out to parents, BG athletic director Ryan Brown said that the search will begin once the fall tournament season officially concludes, and that will be when the buzzer sounds at the end of the Nov. 26 Division I state title game – a game many before the season began felt the Cards might be in.
But that doesn’t take away from what Trisciani did to basically, in Brown’s vie, rescue the program.
He wrote to parents that when Trisciani was hired in January of 2018, “at that time, the very future of the program was on unsteady and uncertain ground. Coach Trisciani’s tenure brough increased participation, success on the field, and increased pride in the program within the school community.”
Brown also wrote that while Trisciani continues to teach at BG, there’s hope he “will find ways to remain involved in the program in the future.” Brown, who coached St.Thomas of Dover for a year during his tenure as athletic director there, told The Telegraph Wednesday that he is not a candidate for the position.
“Not enough hours in the day,” Brown said, referring to the struggle any dual role would present. Trisciani himself said there may be one staff member who might have an interest, but it depends on the time commitment.
Trisciani said that the things his predecessors, Travis Cote and then Jeff Moore “struggled with are a lot of the same things I struggled with too. It kind of gives you peace of mind that you’re not alone in these things.”
What were some of those obstacles? “One of the big challenges is no different than what we talked about it when I was hired, is that the sports specialization there is really hurting us,” Trisciani said. “That’s probably one of the big ones.” Trisciani said that “It’s clearly a lacrosse school in a lot of ways, which I think is really good, but it also makes it hard at small school to get the numbers up, and to try to improve things and sustain it.”
And sustaining it is the problem, Trisciani said. He said he had athletes in the building that he tried and failed to persuade to come out for football, “and it becomes exhausting, I think, to try to recruit the hallways.”
And it wasn’t just potentially losing players to lacrosse; he said athletes may be playing fall baseball or hockey, or basketball over the summer and fall, choosing that over football. “Sure, the athletes are there,” he said, “but they’re not coming out for football at a rate I think keeps you competitive, which is hard.”
Trisciani says his favorite moments were his first season, even though they won only two games, and his second when a good group of seniors helped turn it into a winning program.
What’s the future? Trisciani is clearly a career football coach, cherished the time this year coaching with his father, John. But he’s going to take some time before pondering his next football move, if there is one anytime soon.
“I’m not looking to jump into anything right away,” he said. “Is this the right move? I’m not sure. But you stick with it, and try to move forward.”