DERRY — In terms of state and national recognition, September has been a resoundingly successful month for Pinkerton Academy's athletic program.
Pinkerton football coach Brian O'Reilly has been named a New Hampshire finalist in a national contest to determine the best high school football coach in the country; and Athletic Director Tim Powers was recently honored with two state awards.
USA Today High School Sports named O'Reilly as a state finalist in its first-ever Best High School Football Coach contest. Since the mid-1980s, "the Astros have been the most dominant team in New Hampshire's largest division," the magazine notes. Prior to the start of his 35th season, O'Reilly's record was 250-102, having won nine Division I state titles, including a pair of three-peats.
USA staffers selected eight active football coaches in each state after more than a month of conversations with local media and other state/school officials with high school expertise. Fans will ultimately decide which coach is the best in the nation from a list of 408.
Voting began at noon on Monday and ends at noon on Oct. 8.
The athletic department of the winning coach will receive $2,000. Second through fifth place will also receive cash prizes.O'Reilly said he wasn't familiar with the contest and would prefer not to comment on it. As for Powers, though, O'Reilly said he would enjoy discussing the remarkable job he has done since taking over for former longtime AD Robert Royce several years ago.
"I think he has done an outstanding job filling tough shoes," O'Reilly said."Our athletic programs from top to bottom are in good working order. Tim is outstanding and fair to all. I think that is well deserved."
Along with football, Pinkerton has been successful this past year in a number of other sports. Powers has been a guiding force behind the school's athletic program and was honored at the annual meeting of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association earlier this month in Concord. He was named the New Hampshire Athletic Director of the Year and Division I Athletic Director of the Year.
In receiving the two awards, Powers said much of the credit for his success goes to "the people I work with. I have great support from the administration, my assistant, and the coaches. If I name one I'd have to name them all."