After a month-long selection process, the school on Friday named assistant coach and offensive coordinator Dave Sofran as successor to retired Al Fracassa.
“You can never replace an Al Fracassa," school President John Birney said in a news release. “We had to make sure that we found a coach who would insist on turning boys into more complete men. Someone who would not just demand excellence on the field, but would encourage excellence in the classroom, promote leadership in their communities and inspire them to be men of faith."
A special committee of alumni and school officials charged with tapping the perennial state title contender's first new coach in roughly five decades believes they have that in Sofran. The 1996 graduate played quarterback, wide receiver and free safety during a stellar high school career that propelled him to Northeastern University in Boston.
There, Sofran started 44 consecutive games and was named team captain while regularly earning Atlantic 10 All-Academic team honors. He also served as President of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, participated in the NCAA Leadership Conference, and was a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Council.
Feeling at HomeSofran returned to Brother Rice after earning a degree in sociology and became the school's first alumni coordinator. He now heads the admissions office and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2011. With his help, the Warriors won three straight state titles and sent more than 30 student athletes to play college football.
“I’m incredibly humbled," Sofran said in the release. "I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to continue working with these great kids and coaches and succeed my good friend and mentor, Coach Fracassa."
Fracassa, 81, retired after lthe Warriors clinched the Division 2 state title in November, and was named the 2013 American Family Insurance All-USA Coach of the Year following an undefeated season.
He led Brother Rice to nine state titles in 45 years and amassed a state record 430 victories. School officials said Fracassa will keep his office on campus as Head Football Coach Emeritus.
Being so close to the program for roughly 20 years, Sofran is well aware of the high expectations and appears ready to meet them. He said he will follow one of Fracassa's trademark approaches.
"You never replace a legend, but I think that in my years of working under him he’s taught me that caring for the people you coach and their success in life is more important than just winning," he said. "If we do things the right way and make sure that these boys become more complete men, the winning will come.”
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