Jason Pace, who led Wolcott to four state playoffs in six seasons, was named the head coach at Newington. The school made the announcement Monday in a press release.
Pace played at Wolcott and took over for Pat Russo beginning in 2011. The Eagles went 48-19 during Pace’s tenure and won seven or more games in each season.
Wolcott had never played in the CIAC playoffs before Pace’s arrival. The school qualified in his first year, 2011 and then qualified again in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
The program was 1-4 in those four appearances. Its furthest advance was a Class M semifinal appearance in Pace’s first season. He was named the 2011 New Haven Register All-State Coach of the Year.
Wolcott was 8-3 last year and lost to St. Joseph in the Class M quarterfinals.
Pace is a Trinity College graduate who earned postgraduate degrees at Quinnipiac and the University of Bridgeport and now teaches at Wolcott. He takes over at Newington for Eric Hennessey, who resigned in December after three seasons.
“Through the interview process, Coach Pace showed a clear passion for education and football, which distinguished him as the leader of our education based football program,” Newington athletic director Christopher Meyers said in a statement. “We welcome Jason Pace into our Newington High School Athletics family and are excited to see the positive impact he will have on the football program and the athletic department as a whole.”
Newington hasn’t reached the state playoffs since 2008, when it lost to Masuk in the Class L championship game. Overall, Newington has been to seven state playoffs and has won two state titles, in 1979 and 1980.