Chris Pace has been hired as the Abbott Tech/Immaculate (ATI) head football coach.
Pace, who coached football at Bullard-Havens Tech for two years and just completed his first season as the Abbott Tech girls basketball coach, will replace Richard Holmes at the helm of the ATI football team.
Success has followed Pace, who led Bullard Havens to a 20-2 record over the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
“It was a great experience for me,” Pace said. “We had a lot of success over there. I teach at Abbott Tech, so for me the move made a little more sense for family and my commute. I was commuting from Abbott Tech down to Bullard everyday and then back home to Newtown, so there was a lot of wear and tear.”
This winter Pace turned what was a 10-10 girls basketball team a season ago into a CTC powerhouse boasting a 19-1 regular season record, good for the top seed in the Class M State Tournament.
“It seemed like a pretty perfect fit to get somebody that was in our building, at least in one of our buildings, ours or Immaculate’s of course,” Abbott Tech Athletic Director Jonathan Nadeau said. “To be able to do that, especially with a sport like football is certainly an advantage. When all of those pieces come together, and watching him coach our girls basketball program this winter, I knew we had a pretty good coach on our hands and I was just hoping we would get a chance to hire him.”
ATI has compiled a 18-5 record over the past two seasons as Pace will look to overtake his former team at the top of the CTC.
“They have had some success, ATI, making the playoffs twice since the merger,” Pace said. “It is my job to commit myself fully to the program and to the kids, giving them everything I’ve got and hopefully putting them in the best situation to be successful. Ultimately they are going to get it done. I am confident after coaching against them for two years. They have a great foundation in place and my goal is to take it up one more level.”
Both Nadeau and Immaculate Athletic Director Nelson Mingachos discussed Pace as a candidate at the beginning of the search and agreed that the in-house hire was the way to go.
“I am excited. I think any type of change and new challenge is exciting,” Pace said. “ATI has had some real success since it became a merger and that kind of pushed me in this direction as well. It’s a great school, great athletics, and support within the school. Coaching the girls basketball team was a fantastic experience and the community and that atmosphere are great. That helped to make the decision because it was a great situation down at Bullard. It is tough to leave that, but knowing all of these things and seeing what is going on at Abbott Tech made it easier to make the decision.”