Metrowest Beat: Father & Son to Team up Together on Gridiron

Posted by Andrea Murphy on Jun 29 2005 at 05:00PM PDT
By Mike Reiss Monday, June 27, 2005 Metrowest Daily News With longtime Holliston resident Jack Martinelli entering what is likely his last year as a high school football coach, he's already been assured 2005 will be a special season. The reason is simple: He'll be joined on the sidelines by his son, Brian. "It's something I always wanted to do," says Brian, 21. They'll be paired at Foxboro High, where Jack has been the head coach for 24 seasons. He was at Norwood as an assistant for 12 seasons before that. Brian was a star at Holliston High, graduating in 2001. While they were seldom on the same field over the years, mostly by their own doing, they've always been connected by the sport. In good times and bad. One of the best times was the 2001 EMass Shriners Classic, when Jack was the coach and Brian played for his team. Brian picked off a pass and took it back for a score to secure the South's win. When he got to the sidelines, it had to be sweet that the coach, his dad, was there to greet him. Soon after came one of the bad times. Brian, a freshman at Saint Anselm in 2001, suffered not only a career-ending knee injury, but also artery damage that could have cost him much of his right leg. Throughout the grueling process, Brian was buoyed by the support of his father, who took extended time away from coaching. While his playing career ended due to the injury, Brian still has use of the leg and is as passionate about the game as ever, as a coach. That experience is a main reason why he made the tough choice to leave the Holliston High coaching staff after two seasons. "I saw how my father sacrificed, stopped doing what he loved -- coaching," he says. "This is a way I can pay him back, a way to say thanks." The thank you was received in a big way. "Emotionally, for me, it's a big thing to have him here," Jack says. Brian will work with the running backs and linebackers, the same positions he played at Holliston High. "We've always distanced ourselves from each other, to the point where I was going to go to Foxboro to play as part of school choice but we decided to make our own niches," Brian says. "Talking about this, though, I kind of realized I'm not only a Holliston kid, but also a Foxboro kid. Foxboro has always been a big part of our family. Come to our house and it's a shrine of Foxboro football stuff. "It's my father, too, and I think he's one of the best coaches around. I remember playing for him in the Shriners and realized it was unbelievable, so to coach with him, I would learn a great deal." Another nice twist is that Ed Buckley, Brian's coach at Holliston High, is a member of the Foxboro staff. "It's kind of exciting, with Coach Buckley, and Brian has basically grown up knowing all the other coaches, because they're all kids who played for me," Jack says. "They're all very familiar faces." Brian is currently enrolled at Framingham State and studying toward a sociology degree. He's on schedule to graduate next year, and is considering a graduate degree where he could also be an assistant football coach. He says his father once told him it would never hurt to coach under a few different people. Next up on the list is Dad himself. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Brian says. "I couldn't be more excited." Brian Martinelli (far left) and his father Jack (right) -- shown here speaking with Framingham High athletic director Gary Doherty in 2002 -- will coach football together at Foxboro High for the first time.


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