By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published August 30, 2021
ATLANTA–Alan Chadwick, the longtime leader of the Marist War Eagles football team, achieved an extraordinary feat among high school coaches.
Facing the Blessed Trinity Titans Aug. 27, he marked his 400th victory. He is only the second coach in Georgia history with so many wins.
Players showered him with Powerade as the clock ticked down at Blessed Trinity stadium with 28-13 on the scoreboard. He was embraced by his players, coaches and his family, his wife, Lisa, and two daughters, Kelsey and Kendall.
Team’s win more important than one game
He called it a special win, especially against another talented Catholic high school team. Chadwick said former players and school supporters texted good luck messages leading up to the game.
But Chadwick said the season and the team are more important than just one game. He said the team’s focus for the season is “how good can we get, how far can we go.”
The win for the team was a confidence boost as it continues its schedule against strong opponents, he said.
Chadwick has paced the sidelines of Marist’s field for more than 40 years. He signed on to the school’s staff in 1976 as an assistant under head football coach Dean Hargis. He was named Marist head coach in 1985.
He’s twice been named the Atlanta Falcons Coach of the Year by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association, among many accolades.
Chadwick credited his career wins to the teams who played for him.
“They built a legacy for the long blue line,” he said. The coach said he hoped the same lessons he tried to teach student athletes on the football field would translate off the field as they move through life to “reach for excellence.”
During the 2020 season upended by COVID-19, Marist went 13-0 last year and won a state championship. Chadwick started this season with 399 wins. He has led the football team to three state championships, with more than a dozen regional championships.
Compliments from rival coaches
Coaches at other Atlanta Catholic high schools praised him, from developing a pipeline of success to shaping young players.
The matchup between Blessed Trinity High School and Marist for years has grown to a serious rivalry with fans filling opposite stands.
“Coach Chadwick has been a highly respected football coach who always has his teams well prepared evidenced by the tremendous success of his program,” said Tom Hall, the new Blessed Trinity head coach, and former offensive coordinator for eight years.
“Alan has literally touched and influenced thousands of young men’s lives setting them on a path to be successful faith based men,” he wrote in an email.
Chad Garrison, the head coach of St. Pius X High School football, said he’s learned from Chadwick to “never tire of the fundamentals.”
He has the “ability to continually put tough, prepared, well -coached, fundamentally sound teams on the field year after year,” wrote Garrison in an email.