By Samantha Smith
ATLANTA (CNS) – Under the bright lights and confetti falling, surrounded by his team, their families and thousands of fans at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, Sean McVay lifted the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl championship trophy on February 13th.
Winning the game feels great, said McVay, head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams were behind in the third quarter and most of the fourth quarter, before scoring the winning touchdown with 1:25 remaining in the Super Bowl LVI against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Rams won 23-20.
McVay called it “poetic.”
“You talk about a resilient team, coaches, players; I’m so proud of this group, “McVay said after the game. “We talk about competitive greatness all the time, to be your best when needed.”
McVay, 36, the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl championship in NFL history, is a graduate of Marist School in Atlanta. He gives much credit to the Catholic school because he instilled in them many “fundamental principles,” which he said were essential to his accomplishments.
Marist is a preparatory school for an independent Catholic college owned and run by the Society of Mary. It is the oldest Catholic high school in the Atlanta area.
During his five seasons with the Rams, McVay led the team to five consecutive winning seasons, two Super Bowl appearances and now a Super Bowl championship.
As his coaching career continues to grow, he continues to have fond memories of his time at Marist School.
“The Marines are a special place because of all the unique people,” McVay told the 2021 Marines graduate race to their guest speaker. “I have been so fortunate and blessed that there are so many fundamental principles that have been instilled in me since I got here, from seventh grade to twelfth grade, that have been essential in many things. which were good. in my life.”
The school honored McVay with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2020.
McVay gravitated to eighth-grade football at Marist, following in the footsteps of three generations of McVay.
His father, Tim, played football at Indiana University in Bloomington. His grandfather, John, was vice president and director of football operations for the San Francisco 49ers from 1979 to 1995 and was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
Alan Chadwick, Marist’s head coach for more than 40 years, described McVay as explosive, agile and competitive as a Marist player.
“He put a lot of effort into training and training and he had a great understanding of the game,” Chadwick said.
McVay was a four-year-old starter and junior and senior defender while playing for the Marist War Eagles. In 2003, he led the football team to a state championship and was named the AAAA Georgia Offensive Player of the Year. McVay was the first player in school history to rush and throw 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.
The Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta, Joel M. Konzen, who was the principal of the Marist school while McVay attended classes, remembers him as an easy and friendly student.
In 2003, when Marist won the state championship, Bishop Konzen remembered McVay’s leadership.
“The team acknowledged that he was their leader,” Bishop The Georgia Bulletin told the Archdiocese of Atlanta. “Sean gave most of his teammates credit for a victory, considering his own contribution. This kind of modesty was the way Sean demonstrated his commitment to the Marist Way. ”
After graduating as a Marist in 2004, McVay attended the University of Miami, where he played for the receiver. In 2007, he received the Miami Academic Athlete Award and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health and sports in 2008.
He began his NFL career as an assistant wide receiver coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After working as a quality control coach for Florida Tuskers in the United Football League for a year, McVay returned to the NFL as the Washington Redskins’ assistant coach in 2010.
While coaching for Washington, it was clear that McVay would be a good coach, Chadwick said.
McVay was promoted twice, eventually becoming Washington’s offensive coordinator. In 2016, he coached the offensive unit to have record stats for the franchise.
McVay was named head coach of the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. At 30, he was the youngest NFL head coach in history. The Associated Press named McVay the Coach of the Year in 2018 – the youngest head coach to ever receive the award.
Three years ago, McVay made his first Super Bowl appearance as head coach for the Rams against the New England Patriots, when the game was hosted in Atlanta.
Chadwick and McVay have kept in touch over the years. After the Rams won the NFC championship game against the 49ers on January 30, Chadwick contacted his former player to wish him good luck in the Super Bowl.
“He has done extremely well for himself and should continue to do so for many years to come,” Chadwick said.
Smith is a writer for The Georgia Bulletin, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.