What usually NFL players do after their retirement? Taking high-school head coaching is one of the options that usually in the list.
If you were under a rock for the last few months, then good morning. You’re probably just reading the news and finding out that Philip Rivers is now a head coach. After 17 years of servicing the Chargers and Colts as a starting QB, he has opted for new pastures, taking the next step in his career.
Rivers is not the only recently retired player to be named a head coach in recent months. Longtime tight end Jason Witten retired for the second time, and is off to become a coach after a not-so-successful stint as a broadcaster the first time. And Jeremy Maclin, the nine-year receiver is in charge of a team now, too.
Long Time Coming for Rivers
It wasn’t as widely known, but Rivers becoming the coach at St. Michael’s Catholic in Alabama was a move that was announced over the summer. Perhaps it would have been less surprising to see him retire if we all knew that fact.
Back in May, Rivers was named the coach-in-waiting, and acting athletic director Paul Knapstein was going to fill that void until Philip was ready to commit.
The program is still relatively new, and was initially started by the first head coach, Scott Phelps. Per an article in Gulf Coast News, Phelps wore many hats. He was the first PE teacher, weight room coach, the first baseball coach, and also the bus driver.
He did it all, even helping to jumpstart athletics at the institution. He resigned at the end of March, initially clearing the way for Rivers to become the next leader of the football program.
St. Michael’s Catholic didn’t even have sports until 2016, so for a program to be developed enough for a 17-year NFL vet to now be the coach is incredible.
The intensity that Rivers played with will make him a terrific head coach. He knows how to hold people accountable, and has a genuine love for the sport. This is a great hire for the school, as big things are ahead.
Jason Witten Coaching After his Second Retirement
The first time he retired from football, Jason Witten joined the broadcasting booth. He was one of two color analysts on Monday Night Football, thrown right into the fire of a highly watched broadcast.
Whether it was because the pressure was too great, or he just wasn’t cut out for it, Witten returned to playing after one year in the booth. This time, he’s off to become a head coach.
Witten had a litany of opportunities in both the NFL and college ranks, but instead chose to go the high school route. He is going to be leading Liberty Christian, in Argyle Texas.
His son CJ will enter the school as a freshman next year, allowing him to coach him for all four years of his career. It’s very rare that a father and son enter a school together in the same year, but it’s a very unique opportunity.
Liberty Christian is entering off a 2-7 season in 2020, which followed a 3-8 campaign in 2019. It has been three years since they had a winning record. But with a name as big as Witten’s, recruiting should be easier. Perhaps, kids will transfer in to play for the 11X Pro Bowl tight end.
Jeremy Maclin Taking the Next Step
Jeremy Maclin’s high school career was incredibly impressive. He spent those years at Kirkwood High School, located in a western suburb of St. Louis.
He initially joined the staff at Kirkwood in 2019, two years after taking his final NFL snaps as a Baltimore Raven. He served as the offensive coordinator, QB coach, and also the receivers coach for two years.
And on February 8th, the announcement was made that Maclin would be usurping Farrell Shelton as the next head coach. Shelton spent six years at the helm of the program. And now, it clears the way for the longtime NFL WR to take over.
Having been around the program in various roles for the previous couple of years, Maclin should be pretty familiar with how things are done at the school. And now that he’s in charge, they will be must-see. Maclin had 49 receiving touchdowns in 114 career games, and was always a consistent target.
There will be plenty of NFL-bound wide receivers coming out of Kirkwood High in the coming years. And a hearty congrats to Maclin for landing the job at his alma mater.