Dave Keefe’s coaching career will go down as a short, but highly successful one.
Keefe announced Wednesday he was stepping down from his post at Trinity High of Manchester.
Keefe leaves Trinity with two state titles and three runner-up crowns.
“I leave thinking about what Danny Duval once told me and others,” said Keefe. “He said coaching is about three ships — relationships, friendships and championships. He said if you attain those three things at any level of coaching, you’ll be a successful person. I think I can safely say I did pretty well in all three areas.”
Keefe’s nine-year tenure was under former athletic directors Pat Smith and Gary Leonard, both still at the school and current AD Chip Polak.
“When I decided to step down, I went to the school to thank them along with (principal) Denis Mailloux,” said Keefe. “I was blessed to have an opportunity to coach at a school which is rich in sports history. Pat Smith hired me and I’ll always be grateful to him for the opportunity.”
Keefe was named head coach in 2005 and he made an immediate impact, coaching the Pioneers to consecutive state championship games in 2007 and 2008. His teams lost both games to Salem, but Trinity’s third straight finals trip in 2009 was the charm. The Pioneers beat rival Manchester Memorial, 50-25, for the state title.
“They say the first title win is special and it was for me,” said Keefe. “It was the first time in many years two city teams played for the state title and to come out on top was special.”
Keefe got the Pioneers back in the finals in 2011, losing that game to Bishop Guertin of Nashua. But in a rematch last year, the Pioneers defeated the Cardinals.
“I’ll take that title to my grave,” said Keefe. “My son (Patrick) was a starter in that game and my dad (Frank) was in the stands. It doesn’t get better than that.”
Trinity’s march to the state finals this season got derailed in the semifinals against Merrimack, but his program lost just three times over the last two seasons.
“To be honest, I was ready to leave after we won the state title last year,” said Keefe. “But I had a few discussions with Patrick and he wanted us to go out together. No regrets because I got to coach my son and Carmen (Giampetruzzi) for four years and we got to Durham together for four straight seasons. That’s what I’ll miss the most, all those great bus trips to UNH. And I want to mention our bus driver, George Heck, who made everyone of them in seven of the nine years we went there.”
Keefe’s career record (regular season and post-season) stands at 150-30.
“Dave is a great coach who had a great run,” said Polak. “He gave his heart and soul to Trinity. The guy can flat out coach and the way he handles his team is very impressive. Coaching is a labor of love for Dave and he certainly had the passion for the game. He’s a winner in my book.”
Keefe will remain a guidance counselor at McDonough School in Manchester, a job he’s held for 11 years.