When Chris Pace resigned as the head football coach at Weston late in the 2016 season, he wondered if and when he’d land another job just like it.
Pace, it turns out, can now leaving the guessing aside.
Pace, who coached the Trojans from 2014-16, has been hired to fill the same position at Bullard-Havens Tech in Bridgeport.
“You kind of get that itch to be a head coach again,” Pace said Monday. “I took a look at some opportunities, but this is an opportunity that I really found attractive.”
He replaces John Johnson, who over 13 seasons — the last 10 as head coach — built Bullard-Havens into a steady winner. Over the last four years, the Tigers are 34-10 and have made the state playoffs three times, losing in the first round in each appearance.
Johnson left in February to take a similar position at Notre Dame-Fairfield.
“It’s exciting because their tradition there, they’ve really built a program,” Pace said. “To take over that program, it’s a blessing.”
Bullard-Havens went 9-2 last season and lost to Stafford/Somers/East Windsor 20-12 in the Class S quarterfinals. The Tigers graduated star quarterback Tyrese Wright, who passed for 1,488 yards and 19 touchdowns and ran for 1,707 yards and 25 scores.
Ironically, Pace finds himself in a similar spot as when he replaced Joe Lato at Weston in 2014. The Trojans were two years removed from a trip to the Class M semifinals, and it was up to Pace — who at the time had been coaching at East Harlem High School in New York — to build on the success of his predecessor.
Battling low numbers on the depth chart, Pace went 9-12 over his first two seasons at Weston. There were signs of progress in Year 3 — the Trojans started 3-1, with wins over Brookfield, Stratford and Bethel — but a 35-33 loss to Bunnell sent the team spiraling on a four-game losing streak.
Pace ultimately did not finish that season with the team. He resigned with two weeks remaining after making what the school board said was a “highly inappropriate comment” to his team before a game.
Wanting to stay involved with the sport, Pace spent last season as the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator at Staples.
“I really just love coaching and working with kids,” said Pace, who still teaches physical education at Weston Middle School. “To have the opportunity to work under Coach (Marce) Petroccio at Staples, it was a great experience. As an educator and a coach, I learned a lot of great things.
“Whatever it is, from year to year, game to game, program to program, you want to continue to grow as a coach.”