A.J. Albano brought several former teammates on board as his assistants when he took over as head coach of the Brien McMahon football team. Albano, a BMHS class of 2001 alum, sought to change the team's culture and turn a losing program into a winning one. Many say Albano's rookie season at the helm was a rousing success, with the Senators finishing the year with their first winning record since 2006.
"I think we raised the bar and the expectations of this team," Albano said. "To beat quality football teams and to hang in there against teams like Staples is a great sign of how we've changed the culture."
Albano said his assistant coaches and the team's seniors deserve much of the credit for turning the team around. Jason Zakhar, who was the quarterback and team captain during Albano's playing days, is now the offensive coordinator. Other coaches with a close bond to Albano are his younger brother and former Senators captain, George, former captains Brandon Tegano, Chris Tegano and defensive line coach Joey Smith.
Albano made it a priority this season to pass on the camaraderie among the coaches to his players. At practices and games, the word family was said almost as much as names of plays. A sign in the stands at the Thanksgiving finale against Norwalk called the 2010 squad the "turnaround team."
Albano was happy with this season's results, but he knows the work has just begun for his team to succeed in the extremely competitive Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference.
"It's great, but it doesn't get any easier," Albano said. "Now there's an 'X' on our back, and teams know McMahon is going to come to play. It's been a team effort from the coach to the staff to the players."
What did you think of the Senators' 2010 season? Do you think the future is bright for McMahon football under A.J. Albano? Leave a comment below!
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