Tartan football finding success with second-year coach

St. Thomas Academy has hired Dan O’Brien as the Cadets’ head football coach and program head. O’Brien has spent the last nine years in the University of Minnesota Gopher Football program in a variety of leadership and coaching positions, most recently as defensive backs coach and co-coordinator of special teams. 

In addition to overseeing Cadets football, O’Brien will serve as director of community partnerships and outreach, with responsibility for cultivating relationships in the community on behalf of the Academy. He will also manage the school’s 3A Club, which supports athletic programming.

“Given his deep resume in coaching and operations, we are thrilled to have Dan lead our football program,” said Bob Slater, director of athletics and activities. “Our persistence and patience in conducting an exhaustive search of candidates were rewarded when Dan accepted the position. We are confident he will sustain the level of excellence and the tradition for which Cadets football is known.”

O’Brien previously served as head coach for Concordia-St. Paul and Bemidji High School, and an assistant coach for Benilde-St. Margaret’s, St. Agnes School and Lakeville Area Public Schools. Concurrently with his coaching career, O’Brien served as athletic director for Concordia-St. Paul and Hamline University, assistant athletic director for football operations and senior associate athletic director for the University of Minnesota. He is a board member of the Minnesota Football Coaches Association and the National Football Foundation, Minnesota chapter. O’Brien has a master’s degree in instructional leadership and a bachelor’s degree in physical education, both from the University of St. Thomas.

“I am thankful and honored to be selected the next head football coach at St. Thomas Academy,” O’Brien said. “I’m excited to continue the strong history and tradition of Cadets football. The Academy’s mission and values are also a great fit for me. I can’t wait to get started.”

The Cadets have been state champions and state runners-up three times each and state semi-finalists six times.  

- Lucas Ailport - Sports Intern

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