Dorchester Bears head coach Rich Moran was honored as “Coach of the Week” last Thursday in recognition of his undefeated team’s 12-0 victory over the Burke High School. The victory clinched the Bears’ spot in the Division 5 Super Bowl for the first time in over 20 years.
The Bears squad is made up of students from both TechBoston Academy and Dorchester Academy, both housed in what was once called Dorchester High. The honor from the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation includes a $1,000 donation to Dorchester Academy’s football program in Moran’s name. Former Patriot and Hall of Famer Andre Tippett, who is now the team’s executive director of community affairs, visited the school to present Moran with the award and check.
The visit aired on the Patriots’ weekly TV magazine show “Patriots All-Access” on Friday, Nov. 9 and is now available at Patriots.com.
“The camaraderie between the players and coaches at Dorchester [Academy] was evident during my visit with Coach Moran and his team,” Tippet said. “I’m excited to present this award to Coach Moran and the Bears following another strong defensive performance that showcased solid team football.”
Moran, a 30 year resident of Dorchester, has led the Bears for about seven years. He coached at Hyde Park High when they went to the Super Bowl in 2005. He left that year to go to Dorchester Academy. He was also Coach of the Week while he was at Hyde Park.
He said his kids "really enjoy playing football."
"During the hurricane, Hurricane Sandy, they called me up wanting to practice. I said, 'It's a state of emergency, I'll get arrested for letting you practice.'"
Moran downplayed the Coach of the Week honor and said, "I've coached the same way I've always coached. I've always been the same guy, but it's kind of funny that now I'm 'Coach of the Week.' It's really not about me, it's about the kids."
Boston Public Schools athletics director Kenny Still said, “He deserved it. He’s put a lot of strength into that program. They were having a little bit of a struggle, but he’s built it up.”
Still said many of the players on the team weren’t familiar with playing football as it is played in the United States. He said because of the number of students from places like Nigeria that they were more familiar with football as soccer. That was an obstacle Moran had to overcome as he rebuilt the team, but he succeeded in making the team undefeated in their division.
The Bears are now 9-0 with their most recent 12-0 win against Boston English on Friday, Nov. 9. They’ll have a tough game against Madison Park on Nov. 16, but Still said it won’t make a difference as far as their playing in the Super Bowl.
The Madison Park team is 7-2 and clinched the Boston North title with their 62-20 victory over East Boston on Nov. 9 and are the favorite going into Friday’s game, Still said.
The Division 5 Super Bowl will be played on Sun., Dec. 2. Division 5 only has two leagues, Boston South and Mayflower Small, so the winner of each league bypasses a semifinal game and goes straight to the Super Bowl. The site has yet to be determined, but will be announced by the Massachusetts Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).
The last time the Bears played for the title was in 1989, when Olympian Calvin Davis helped the team to a 14-7 win over Bristol-Plymouth at Boston University. It was the school’s third visit to the Super Bowl and its only win.
Still said, “I wish the team luck, and speed as they head to the next level and the super bowl. The athletics department will be with them all the way.”