Kraby Replaces Olson as New Millis Football Coach

Ken Hamwey, Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
August, 2018
Article Body: 

Brian Kraby is the new varsity football coach at Millis High.
The 41-year-old Kraby, who has a long and rich tradition at Millis, played football and baseball for the Mohawks, was a member of the 1994 Super Bowl championship squad, coached as an assistant there for 15 years and currently is in his eighth year as a social studies teacher at the high school.
Kraby replaces Dana Olson, who led the Mohawks to a pair of Super Bowl crowns the last two years. Olson will be working on a bachelor’s degree in the future, and he’ll also be returning as an assistant coach. He’ll be the defensive coordinator at Milford High this fall.
“I’m honored and humbled to be selected as the school’s football coach,’’ Kraby said. “Millis has a great tradition with winning football, and its previous coaches have built and sustained a rich history with the program.’’
No stranger to the Millis program, Kraby previously spent eight years as an assistant to Dave Sperandio from 1997-2005 and his last stint with the Mohawks was as their freshman coach (2012-2014). He also was an assistant at Framingham High for two seasons. Kraby is acutely aware that taking the head-coaching reins after Olson guided Millis to bowl victories over Maynard and Hoosac Valley the last two years will be a Herculean task. But, he’s eager to get started. Opening night for the Mohawks will be Sept. 7 against non-league Brighton.
“It’ll be a challenge to keep the success going, but I know we can sustain it,’’ Kraby emphasized. “I’ve got confidence in myself, and I know what’s needed to get the job done. Coaching at the lower levels is a plus, because that’s where much of the teaching goes on.’’
Kraby intends to work vigorously with the youth program and the middle school team to ensure that Millis’ participation numbers increase. “My goals are to build a thriving culture from the ground up and to make sure the program feeds itself,’’ Kraby noted. “And, we want to continue with a winning tradition. I’ll stress fundamentals, repetitions and being in top-notch physical condition.’’
Although most of the Mohawks’ skilled-position players will be graduating, Kraby sees strength in both lines and believes his forces can contend for another Tri Valley League Small Division crown.
“We’ll need to replace 18 seniors and a lot of players at the skilled positions —he said. “But, we’ll be good enough to compete for the division title. Our nucleus (about eight players) is solid, and we’ll have some new faces. Our kids are blue-collar types, and they’re inspired and hungry to excel. And, our captains are quality leaders — seniors Thomas Sallon (linebacker/tight end) and Stephen Melia (fullback/linebacker.’’
Labeling his style as “intense,’’ Kraby, nevertheless, has a keen knack for connecting with youths. “The most important aspect of my job is to teach our kids to be young men with strong character and good morality,’’ Kraby said. “Football is a way for them to build a good foundation for those attributes.’’
Chuck Grant, the athletic director at Millis, is pleased Kraby is on board, and he’s a big fan of his style. “As a former captain of the football program that won a Super Bowl in 1994, Brian is rich in Millis tradition’’ Grant said. “He also was an assistant coach when we won the 1999 Super Bowl. We’re excited to have him lead our program and to enhance its success in all the key impact areas with his passion and enthusiasm.’’
Kraby recalled the atmosphere of that surrounded the 1994 squad. “We had gone 1-9 the year before,’’ Kraby said. “But, there was a special energy and a sense of brotherhood. We weren’t big, but we worked hard and we were fast. Our team chemistry was phenomenal.’’
Kraby played guard, linebacker and nose tackle at 5-8 and 190 pounds. He also was a catcher in baseball. After graduation in 1995, he enrolled at UMass-Dartmouth, played linebacker and center for two years but later transferred to Framingham State where he earned a degree in history. He also has master’s degrees from Cambridge College and American International College in education and school leadership.
A native of Millis, Kraby and his wife Mary have three sons and a daughter.
Aware that he’s following outstanding coaches like Ernie Richards, Sperandio, Dale Olmsted and Olson, Kraby mentions their efforts in superlatives. “I played for coach Sperandio and he was a great motivator whose football knowledge was so expansive,’’ Kraby said. “All of these coaches were outstanding and excelled in different ways.
Another coach Kraby admired was his late father (Donald), who helped him coach the 2014 freshman team at Millis. “My dad previously coached at Xaverian,’’ Kraby noted. “He showed me how to mold players into responsible young men. He was such a high-caliber mentor.’’
Kraby’s philosophy of competing will be linked to competing hard to win, to reach one’s potential and to enjoy an athletic experience. And, when the moment is right, he’ll let his players know that their sport is a fertile venue to learn real life lessons.
“Life isn’t easy, and at times, people have to deal with issues,’’ Kraby said. “Sports can teach how to overcome adversity, how to be responsible and accountable, and how to be a good teammate, no matter whether it’s in business, education or sports.’’
The new football coach at Millis has exceptional perspective on his new responsibilities.