When John Marinelli announced he was leaving as Greenwich (Conn.) High School’s head football coach, there wasn’t an enormous shock that he was headed to the collegiate ranks. What was a surprise is that he’s headed to Arizona.
Marinelli’s new role is as offensive analyst at the University of Arizona. It’s a position that is at or near the bottom of the food chain and a stunning shift from his peak at Greenwich.
So, how does a coach like Kevin Sumlin come to recruit a Connecticut high school coach as his assistant?
That’s what everyone is trying to figure out, though University of Arizona sports blog Arizona Desert Storm does have an intriguing theory:
In some cases such hires are veiled attempts at getting a recruiting edge on a specific player. The 247Sports recruiting database doesn’t list any Greenwich players as notable prospects in the upcoming classes, but Marinelli does have a connection to the top-rated player in the state.
Drew Pyne, a 4-star quarterback who is committed to Notre Dame, plays for Marinelli’s father Lou at New Canaan High School. Arizona offered Pyne a scholarship in January 2018, shortly after Kevin Sumlin was hired as head coach, and Pyne was among many in the Connecticut prep football community to comment on Twitter about Marinelli’s move to Tucson.
Now, there’s nothing concrete to emerge connecting Marinelli’s hire with any pursuit of Pyne, but that’s not to say there isn’t something there. After all, there aren’t other obvious direct connections between Marinelli, who comes from a family with a long Connecticut football legacy, and the Arizona desert.
Either way, the Wildcats are adding a talented coach, one who took a dipping program at Greenwich and transformed it back into an elite state champion in fewer than four years. While Marinelli’s official title has yet to be announced, he has the talent to be successful no matter what it is, provided he attacks his new role with the tenacity he displayed at Greenwich.