It’s safe to say Tipton-Rosemark could not have hired a head coach with a more extensive and varied resume than Shannon O’Brien.
O’Brien, 58, has coached at six different colleges, has been a head high school coach twice and even coached professionally in Europe in 34 years of coaching experience.
He was named TRA’s head coach Monday morning, replacing Collin Pinner, who announced his resignation last month after serving as head coach the past four seasons.
O’Brien served nine seasons as an assistant coach at TRA before leaving last season to take the head coaching job for Armia Poznan in Poland. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under legendary coach Lou Holtz at Minnesota. Other college stops include Austin Peay, North Alabama, Maryville College, Kent State and the University of Tennessee during Peyton Manning’s freshman year in 1994. He was the head coach at St. Benedict from 2002 to 2009, was an assistant at Olive Branch and also coached at high schools in Tampa and Biloxi, Miss.
He was among four people who were interviewed by a panel of TRA administrators last week. TRA athletic director Joe Layton said more than 30 people applied for the job.
TRA has made the playoffs six straight seasons and O’Brien was an assistant coach on five of those teams. The Rebels, however, have not won a playoff game in 16 years.
“I think winning a playoff game and taking that next step is possible here,” O’Brien said. “If I didn’t think it was possible I wouldn’t have taken the job at my age. I think it can be done, but it isn’t going to happen overnight with this group that graduated.”
There were 36 players on TRA’s roster last year and 16 of them were seniors. The Rebels will be super young in 2020, so year one under O’Brien could be a rebuilding season. Rosemark went 4-7 last season and lost in the first round of the DII-A state playoffs.
O’Brien already has some goals laid out for the program moving forward. The first is to win the season opener, the second is to have a .500 or better record each year, the third is to make the playoffs and the fourth is to win a playoff game.
The fifth? To compete for a state title.
“I don’t think those are too far-fetched or outlandish goals,” O’Brien said. “One, two, three and four are attainable for us. If we get the right quality of kids to together to buy in with what we’re trying to do, yes, I think goal number five can be attainable, too.”