Sean Ireland, who finished with a .500 record over eight seasons, stepped down today as Norwalk’s football coach. Ireland’s final game was last Thursday, a 32-20 win over city rival Brien McMahon.
Ireland, who was an assistant for 12 years before getting promoted, said he wanted to spend more time with his family. He has a son who is seven.
“It has been a good run but it’s time,” Ireland said. “Exactly what it is, is I’m tired of coming home and hearing ‘Hey Daddy, did you see my interception?’ and saying, ‘Yeah, I saw it on video,’ I was thinking about this throughout the year. About week seven or eight I knew for sure this was my last year.”
Norwalk finished 5-5 this season. The Bears were 40-40 under Ireland and qualified for the state playoffs in 2011. They have not had a losing season since 2016. Ireland took a leave of absence for the 2014 season.
“This is a big loss for Norwalk High School,” said Doug Marchetti, the school’s athletic director. “Sean put his heart and soul into the football program since 1998. People see what happens on Friday night but not 12 months a year. Sean always did things the right way. He will be very difficult to replace.”
Norwalk becomes the 11th of the league’s 17 teams that has had to make a coaching change in the last three years.
During Ireland’s tenure over two dozen players went on to play in college, including six at the Division I level.
“Just like any coach there were some wins left on the table but I’m happy with the direction of the program and the cupboard is not bare,” Ireland said. “There are a lot of athletes here and a lot of kids coming back. I’m proud of what we’ve done. It’s just been a privilege to coach the kids.”