Jarrett Shine intends on continuing that impressive trend.
A 1992 Brunswick graduate who starred on the Bruins football team, Shine begins what he hopes is another winning era today when Brunswick visits Hackley School at 2 p.m. in its 2009 season opener.
"I'm definitely happy to get the season started," said Shine, who lost only one game in his four years as a member of Brunswick's football team. "I am going to try to put my own spin on things and also bring back some old traditions. Coach Sampson was my mentor, so hopefully, I can make him proud."
Shine replaces Brennan, who served as the Bruins' head coach the past six seasons and guided the team to a record of 48-9 with three straight New England Preparatory School Athletic Council championships (2003-2005). Brennan accepted a job as headmaster at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vt.
A standout running back, receiver and return man for Lafayette College, Shine takes over a squad that finished 5-4 the last two seasons while facing an upgraded schedule that included perennial powerhouses Trinity-Pawling and Salisbury School. The Bruins will face both teams again this season and have added traditionally strong Kent School to its schedule. Brunswick's Fairchester Athletic Association League schedule, which includes games against defending league champion King School and Hopkins School, is also challenging.
Though graduation claimed 16 players from last season's squad, the Bruins are determined to make a stronger showing in the league and return to the postseason for the first time since 2006.
"A lot of people have us in the middle of the league and almost everyone has King at the top of the FAA," Brunswick senior starting quarterback and tri-captain Jimmy Craft said. "We went to overtime last year with King and this year we're a better team. I think we can shock some people and battle with the big guys. If we bring our A' game we can roll with anybody."
Craft threw for 1,413 yards with 18 touchdowns in 2008.
"The experience I gained last year was unreal," Craft explained. "I'm real excited to be out there again this year. Hopefully, I can cut down on the turnovers a little bit and put some points on the board."
Senior tri-captain wide receiver/defensive back Brett Moscati is one of Craft's favorite targets to throw to and senior tight end/defensive end Philip Pierce should also aid the passing game. Pierce likes what he sees from the Bruins' first-year starters."
"A lot of seniors have to step up and play big roles," Pierce said.
"Our strongest core of our team is our junior class. The team has come together well during the long preseason."
Like their new head coach, the Bruins are more than ready to get their 2009 campaign under way.
"We are really excited to get suited up and play the first game," Craft said. "It's been four weeks and we have had two a days for 2 1/2 of those weeks."
Said Shine: "There are some things we can work on and get better in, but I think we are ready for our season opener. If we stay healthy we can be a good team."
AT THE HELM -- Shine gained a lot of knowledge about the coaching profession from working as an assistant coach under Sampson for several seasons. He also served as an assistant coach for Kashatus and Brennan.
The White Plains, N.Y., native helped lead Lafayette College to the Patriot League championship in 1992 and 1994. Following his career at Lafayette, Shine had workouts with the New York Giants and New York Jets.
Shine, who will also call the plays, is the associate director of admission and alumni relations at Brunswick.
Steve Garnett and Marcus Chioffi return from Brennan's coaching staff. Garnett is the defensive coordinator and Chioffi will run the special teams. Mike Hannigan will coach the linebackers and defensive line and Mike Vasaka will help out with the linebackers and work with the running backs.
Mike Harris, who was part of Sampson's coaching staff, is back with the program as an assistant coach.
WHO'S GONE? -- The Bruins were hit hard by graduation at nearly every position. Star wide receiver/defensive back Kevin Royal graduated and is playing football the University of Virginia. Commencement also claimed leading rusher Will Holmes, who gained 484 yards, fullbacks Milo Ceci and Mike Byrnes and running back Jonny Duennebier.
Tight end/defensive end Billy Chapman, who caught a team-leading 25 passes for 640 yards, departed as did offensive/defensive linemen Kareem Campbell, Ray Duffy, Brad Daiber and Peter Castine. Quarterback KC Clark and wide receiver Charlie Gerdts also graduated.
OFFENSE -- The Bruins will utilize the power-I formation, as well as a pro set formation with two running backs and two wide receivers. Brunswick will also mix in the spread offense.
Junior running back Sam MacFarlane has the potential to power the team's ground game.
"With Sammy back there I feel confident in running the ball," Shine said.
Brunswick graduated its entire starting offensive line, but brings back a pair of lineman that saw action last year in juniors Ernie Rosato and Will Preziosi.
The 6-foot-1, 216-pound Rosato gets the start at center and Preziosi (5-10, 224 pounds) is one of the anchors of the line at tackle. Junior 6-0, 247-pound Nick Garzona will start at the other tackle and Sam Philip will line up at guard.
The speedy Moscati should lead the receiving corps. Junior Jeff Jay will also be a big part of the passing attack. Look for Pierce to catch some passes at tight end. Marcus will fulfill the place kicking duties again. Murphy is the Bruins' punter.
DEFENSE -- Brunswick will play a 3-5 defense, with Pierce, Preziosi and senior Cliff Simmons starting up front. Preziosi is the nose tackle and Pierce and Preziosi are the two defensive ends.
The Bruins have a solid group of linebackers with MacFarlane leading the way in the middle.
Senior Peter Kiernan and Marcus are the starting outside linebackers. Rosato and Kraus will provide strength inside.
"We have a lot of good linebackers on our team," Shine said. "They are the anchor of our defense."
Said Pierce: "Strong defense has always been one of the trademarks of our team and we want to keep that reputation. It all starts with the defense."
Moscati, who also starts at free safety, leads a secondary that has the ability to create problems for opposing quarterbacks. Senior Nick Baccile, Jay and junior Leo Russell will help fortify the unit.
SHOWDOWNS -- After today's matchup against Hackley, the Bruins will travel to Kingswood-Oxford on Saturday at 2 p.m. Brunswick will host King on Oct. 3, at 2 p.m. The Bruins' first night game of the season takes place when Kent School visits Cosby Memorial Field on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. Brunswick also has home games against St. Luke's School (Oct. 24, 2 p.m.), Salisbury School (Oct. 31, 7 p.m.) and Trinity-Pawling (Nov. 13, 7 p.m.). They will visit rivals Rye Country Day School (Oct. 17, 3:15 p.m.) and Hopkins School (Nov. 7, 2:30 p.m.).
"We can't take anybody on our schedule for granted," Pierce said.
"We have to win all the games that we're supposed to win, but our goal is to also win the games that we aren't supposed to win."
DID YOU KNOW? -- Brunswick has won its season opener the last five seasons. The Bruins have outscored their foes 152-24 during that stretch.