1947 - 1962
1962 - 1978
O'Connell, a bear of a man with a heart of gold who grew the brightest roses in town, is a legendary Concord sports figure. He served first as a football and baseball coach and later as a highly respected athletic director.
O'Connell and Coach Walter Carew grew up one street apart in Medford and developed their considerable athletic talents at Barry Park, where scores of great athletes blossomed. O'Connell was a center and Carew the quarterback on a great 1935 Medford High football team, winners over Brockton and losers of only one game. O'Connell was also one of the state's best catchers at the time. In fact, he was so fearless that he caught without a mask early during his catching career. O'Connell and Carew were also teammates on St. Joseph's 1940 state champion CYO baseball team.
O'Connell has both a B.S. and a Master's Degree from Boston University, where he played three years of varsity baseball and captained the 1941 baseball team. Had it not been for World War II, O'Connell would likely have played professional baseball. During the war, O'Connell was a lieutenant in the US Army, serving from August 4, 1941 to November 26, 1945. He saw action in the Pacific Theatre, fighting in Northern Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippine islands.
O'Connell and Carew both began their teaching and coaching careers in Concord in 1947. O'Connell coached football and baseball. As coach Bernie Megin's trusted line coach, he was a tremendous teacher of the rugged art of line play. During the fabulous 59-game unbeaten streak between 1946 and 1952, which featured two North Carolina bowl games, O'Connell's tough and quick linemen led the charge into a truly golden era of high school football in the state.
In 1962, O'Connell became Athletic Director at CCHS and managed the school's delicate switch from the Middlesex into the Dual County League, a move that will reap benefits for the patriots well into the next century.
John O'Connell, who also taught physical education and Supervised the Summer playground program for years, is loved and respected by generations of Concord boys. Picture the image of this straight-backed, World War II battle veteran seated in the middle of a baseball bench at Emerson Field with his wide arms around bunches of smiling kids squeezed next to him. That's the John O'Connell we all love.
A man of tremendous moral fiber and deep religious beliefs, he is truly a Concord athletic institution and sports legend.