After St. Johns Prep head varsity basketball coach Sean Connolly stepped down in March, athletic director Jim OLeary didnt have to look far for a replacement. In a news conference at the school Monday at 4 p.m., it was announced that assistant varsity coach John Duella of Peabody would succeed Connolly.
Im thankful to everyone at St. Johns Prep for the opportunity to be head coach and their confidence in me to keep the program going in the right direction, Duella said. This is something Ive always wanted and I couldnt ask for a better team.
Duella said he expressed interest in the position as soon as Connolly, who led the Eagles for five years, stepped down. He found out he got the job last week in a meeting with St. Johns Prep principal Keith A. Crowley, and OLeary, but he had to keep it a secret until the official announcement.
Duella, a physical education teacher for grades 6 to 8 in the Peabody school system, has been assistant varsity coach since 2009 and helped Connolly lead the Eagles to the Division 1 state championship in 2011. He also assisted in leading them to Catholic Conference championships in 2010, 2011, and 2013.
He has high hopes, and believes he can lead St. John's Prep to another tournament win.
We were 18-2 last season but suffered a disappointing loss in the tournament, Duella said. I hope we can build off of [the loss] and go even farther this season.