TRIA Prep Salute, Sept. 26: Holy Family football rebuilds with legendary coaching staff
The Holy Family football team has a different buzz this season. The Fire have a brighter glow with the help of a legendary Minnesota prep coaching staff.
Dan O’Brien, Dave Nelson and Jeff Ferguson are fueling the flame with rebuilding the Fire football program.
“We had to shake the hallways,” O’Brien told KSTP’s Alec Ausmus. “We had to walk the halls and ask every single kid, are you playing a fall sport? If not, we want you to come out and play football.”
O’Brien is the head coach. Most recently he led St. Thomas Academy to four state tournament appearances in five years. Nelson and Ferguson are his lead assistants, the three of them know what it takes to win at the prep level.
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O’Brien said, “the opportunity to have Coach Ferguson and Coach Nelson joining on the staff, at the end of the day became too much to say no to.”
Ferguson made his mark coaching 18 seasons at Totino-Grace, and Nelson the same at Minnetonka. They combined for over 450 wins and 10 state titles. Both came out of retirement to coach again at Holy Family.
“It all kind of came together. Jeff Ferguson moved out this way and started working at Holy Family,” said Nelson. “We start talking, then he’s helping the school look for some candidates, and Dan O’Brien’s name came up. A good friend.”
Before you knew it, the duo was back on the sidelines with O’Brien.
“Friday night before the game, standing with Dave Nelson, and Dan O’Brien, we were shaking our heads going, ok, here we go.”
Holy Family has already seen payoff on the gridiron, the Fire opened their season with a week-one victory that snapped a 21 game losing streak. The Fire seniors tasted their first victory of their varsity careers.
“The first person I had to go see my family, and see my dad,” said senior quarterback Gavin Frye. “Him knowing what we’ve been through, it got really emotional with us too.”
Heading into week five of the regular season, the Fire have two wins and two losses. Their first multi-win season since 2018.