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Former Charlestown basketball coach Jack O'Brien takes coaching job at Springfield Central High School

Posted by Ryan Butler  October 1, 2013 11:38 AM

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Former Charlestown High coach Jack O'Brien talks to former player and current Brighton High coach Hugh Coleman during the Alray Taylor 3-on-3 Tournament at UMass Boston on Sept. 21. O'Brien recently took the head coaching job at Springfield Central. (Justin A. Rice / For the Boston Globe)

Legendary Charlestown and Salem basketball coach Jack O’Brien has officially taken his basketball prowess to Springfield Central High School starting this winter.

After six years without drawing up inbound plays on his whiteboard, he’s ready to get back on the court.

“I’m definitely excited to be back coaching,” O’Brien said. “Springfield’s a big, urban school and I’ve had some success in that past with that environment.”

O'Brien has had tremendous success since he won his first MIAA state championship with Salem High in 1990. At Salem, he coached future NBA player Eric Brunson.

After taking over Charlestown’s basketball program in 1993, O’Brien proceeded to leave an impact on their program that put him in company with some of the greatest city coaches of all time.

In a six-year span (1999 to 2005) O’Brien and his Townie squad won a stunning five state championships, giving O’Brien six MIAA state championships. O’Brien coached 13 seasons at Charlestown, and at one point during that championship run, his teams captured four straight titles.

But O’Brien says it's the opportunity to interact with players that makes this new endeavor of his all worthwhile.

“I’ve been able to reach success with a lot of kids, and help change their lives,” he said. “I look at Springfield and think there’s no better place for me to go.”

O’Brien, a Medford native, also says he’s going to keep his current physical education job at West Roxbury High school, and isn’t too worried about the longer-than-usual commute.

“Yeah, I’ll be commuting,” he said when asked about his plans. “That’s the hard part, but we (West Roxbury high school) get out at 1:30 so that’ll actually work out fine. It’s an hour and a half ride so I’ll just be jumping on the highway.”

O’Brien is taking over for former coach Mike Labrie. Labrie coached Central for seven seasons, including its 2011 state title season.

“I didn’t want to turn such an opportunity down,” he said. “And now, in practice, I can use the hour and half commute as leverage to tell the kids: I drove an hour and a half to get here!”

Ryan M. Butler covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @butler_globe or @BPSspts.

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.