About Mr. Brennan
“Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a place like Avon Old Farms existed while growing up in the suburbs of Long Island,” begins Pierce Brennan, chairman of the math department and head varsity football coach at Avon Old Farms School.
As a child, Pierce was always into sports and began playing football when he was in the fourth grade. He continued his football career at Sachem High School, a public school with over 1,100 students in each graduating class. Pierce jokes that his senior gym class was almost as big as the AOF student body. At Sachem, he had the best coaches in a school with a rich football tradition that elevated his playing experience. The camaraderie that thrived in the ultimate team sport and the support of his fellow students left him with memories he cherishes.
After high school, he attended the United States Coast Guard Academy for one year before transferring to the University at Albany to pursue a dream of playing Division 1 Football. During his four years at Albany, he was a three-year starter at center while receiving a BA in mathematics and an MA in education. He had some thoughts about going to law school, but ultimately decided to pursue an opportunity to coach instead.
“I saw the passion my coaches had for the game, and how committed they were to giving their players the best experience. I wanted to give that same experience to my own students,” he says. “I had a college teammate who lived in Florida, and whose father was a head football coach—maybe one of Florida’s historical coaches—which brought about an opportunity to join his coaching staff.”
And so, after graduating from Albany in the summer of 2007, Pierce moved to Stuart, Florida, where he taught math for a year and coached at South Fork High School alongside Dennis Lavelle, the head coach at South Fork High School for 16 years. He says that while South Fork wasn’t a school with a lot of financial resources to put into the game, Lavelle was a strong coach who really cared about his players.
“He wasn’t trying to be anyone’s best friend. He certainly wasn’t easy on them. But, he deeply cared for his players, and they knew that. It was a really eye-opening experience for me,” he says. “But, after a year, my desire to be around college football was too strong to keep me in the classroom.”
Pierce moved back to the northeast and served as the offensive line coach and strength and conditioning coordinator for the University of New Haven’s football program. It was a different level of play that really helped him build his skills in coaching and recruiting. After two years of roaming the blue-turfed sidelines at UNH however, he felt a pull to return to the classroom and began his career in boarding school at Trinity-Pawling.
After several years at Trinity-Pawling and a year back in public schools, in 2014 Pierce made his way to the land of the Winged Beavers with his wife Danielle, daughter Michaela, and son Logan.
“My experience up to that point in teaching made me excited to join Avon Old Farms. Our school community and pride is unrivaled. I encourage anyone I meet to come visit our beautiful and unique campus. There is nothing more fulfilling than to help guide our young men to make our mission come to life each and every day.”
At Avon, Pierce says it’s the entire community experience that allows boys to be themselves and to flourish.
“Working at a school like this, it’s not just the interaction inside the classroom or on the playing field. I get to interact with the students all the time, see them grow, and get to know them for who they really are. It makes a difference.”
Pierce continues that Avon is a place where boys can figure out who they are and prepare themselves for college.
“Whether a boy is here for four years or for one, his time here will be short in the grand scheme of things. But, what we do here is not just about the time spent here. The successes and failures our students encounter will set them up for the rest of their lives. At Avon, we define success not by what you do here, but what you do after you leave.”
Through Avon’s Intersession program, Pierce has developed a love for baking bread. He says if he didn’t work here, it’s something he never would have discovered.
Pierce was a senior in high school when the attacks on September 11, 2001, occurred. It was an event that inspired him to attend the United States Coast Guard Academy.