The year was 1990 and Stoughton High School needed a football coach.
Greg Burke, then the local assistant coach for many years, was fired from teaching at Archbishop Williams some time ago.
Burke said: I was almost completely uneducated. “
When Stoughton came knocking to give Burke his first head coaching gig since moving to the sidelines after graduating as a senior linebacker for the Northeastern University football team in 1976, the two is connected.
After 33 seasons, he hasn’t left to become a head coach anywhere, and Burke announced his retirement last week.
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Burke, 69, has a career record of 188-136-4 and led the Black Knights to five South Sectional playoff appearances and four Hokkomock League titles during his Hall of Fame career.
“The challenge was great. We had a tough few years when I first started, but then it worked out,” Burke said. It was very close on a few occasions, but we competed strongly.I couldn’t be happier that hundreds of athletes went on to college.”
Burke was inducted into the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2019, becoming only the second coach in the school’s history to do so (Albert Toomey, 1976).
A 28-14 loss to Canton on Thanksgiving puts the Black Knights campaign 3-8 this fall. Over the past four seasons, the team has posted a record of 21-18.
“Coach Burke understood the role Stoughton Athletics played in our community and took great pride in mentoring current students and maintaining strong relationships with alumni. , dedication, dedication didn’t go unnoticed,” said the Stoughton first-year athlete. Director Chris Carbon. “We wish Burke all the best moving forward.[He]has put in a great run for the Knights. I am proud of.”
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Burke began coaching as an assistant under John Lee at Walpole High School. There he recalled memories of his alma mater, Milton High School, building a team of just his 10 players (give or take) on the junior varsity team, then Archbishop Williams. Arches and Milton under his McDonald’s Kevin, who announced his retirement this year after his 40-year career at the academy.
Looking back, Burke said being an assistant was “really a learning experience.” You must be your own man,” he admitted.
“Well then,” added Burke.
Former athletic director Ryan Donoghue, who worked with Burke for 13 years from 2009 until spring 2022, said, “I learned a lot from him. The model. The countless hours he put in cannot be overstated. He’s been dedicated to this program and this community for over 30 years, and the amount of money the program has achieved and provided to the community is truly impressive.”
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Through 30 years of fighting foes in the Hokkmokk League, there are always some good opponents such as North Attleboro, Mansfield, Foxboro, Franklin, Oliver Ames, King Philip and other battle-tested Black Knights build characters. Contained.
Stoughton won their first share of the league title in 2001, splitting it between Mansfield and North Attleboro, according to HockomockSports.com. The team shared it again with Oliver Ames in 2011, and in 2014 fully claimed the Hocomok Davenport division crown for its first solo crown since 1975.
“The highlights[of my career]were the games against Canton and Foxboro. Our real neighbors were[great],” Burke said. We had some losses that were some of our best games. “
“Whether you win, lose or draw, how you treat your athletes and how you prepare them for the future is the most important part of the job. It’s not Bridgewater or Stoughton. Or Anyone, it’s how you did with your kids and how they become productive adults.
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The team played three seasons away from their home field as a newly built high school was being built where the previous field had been. Stoughton played his game home his year at Stonehill College but is back on its own campus for 2021 as they unveil a new grass field.
Teams rely on home field advantage week after week throughout the season, but that wasn’t the case for the Black Knights for most of their high school careers.
“I can’t think of anything more difficult. We did it and had a great year. We packed it week after week. Those years are precious and will never be forgotten,” said Burke. said. “It was the hardest thing we did and the kids didn’t blink.”
It wasn’t easy, but Donahue said Burke and his coaching staff handled the field shift the best they could.
“He was a total team player throughout every day I was there and had such a positive attitude,” Donahue said. He took care of it, condoned it and made the necessary adjustments while understanding what we were up against. It was out of my hands.”
“He and I share many memories and I hold him in high esteem,” added Donahue. “It was an honor to know him, to work with him and to see (the success of the program) firsthand.”
Burke took a break from coaching for the 2006 season to watch his son Jimmy play quarterback at North Quincy High. As a fan, he had never seen him play before, so he went to every game.
“It was the best thing I’ve ever done, to be honest. It was very important,” Burke said. “Luckily[Stoughton]gave me my job back. Of course they didn’t have to, but I’m glad they did. I said I had to do it for my child.”
Burke hasn’t ruled out coaching again in a smaller role as an assistant.
“I miss[coaching at Stoughton]so much,” Burke said.