Falmouth High School Names Almeida New Head Football Coach
By: RICH MACLONE, July 17, 2014
Four years ago, when his father, Dana Almeida, vacated the position of head coach of the Falmouth High School varsity football program, Derek Almeida applied for the job, but was not selected. When the job surprisingly opened up a couple of weeks ago, after the sudden resignation of Steve Femino, it didn’t take long for Almeida to decide to put his hat back in the ring.
“It’s a job that I’ve always wanted,” the 34-year-old said. “I coached here for nine years, eight with my father and then one with Steve, and taught here. I loved being in Falmouth, and wanted to come back.”
Falmouth High School principal Joe Driscoll said that the four-person selection committee came to the unanimous decision to hire Almeida after sitting down with the two finalists for the position, Almeida and Ken Kozens, who has coached football and baseball at FHS for more than 30 years. The committee consisted of Driscoll, FHS athletic director Kathleen Burke, Quarterback Club president Jeff Rubino, and football official Dan Murphy.
“It was unanimous by everyone on the committee. Both of them did a great job,” Driscoll said.
Almeida began coaching football with his father while still attending college. He coached a year of freshman football at Fairhaven High School before his father took over at Falmouth High in 2002. He served as an assistant coach under his father, running the team’s offense over the last three years. Falmouth went 47-37 during his father’s tenure, including a 4-4 record against rival Barnstable on Thanksgiving Day.
After Femino was named the head coach at Falmouth, Almeida remained on for one season to coach with the man he is replacing. He said that Femino was, and remains, a good friend to him and that the former coach has been assisting him with the transition. “Everything is in good shape, program-wise,” Almeida said. “Everything is in place. Everything that needed to be done has been done. It’s been smooth.”
An opportunity to become the defensive coordinator at Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical School arose for Almeida, which prompted him to move on. He said that his time at GNBVT was well spent. The coach said his time under the Bears’ Chuck Allaire furthered his own progression as a coach. As defensive coordinator Almeida helped the Bears earn a spot in the playoffs last year.
“The way that I look at it, I’ve worked for three great head coaches, and I’ve learned a lot from all of them. My dad, Steve, and Chuck Allaire have all helped me to get here,” he said. “I’ve always been around football since I was a kid. I’ve learned a lot from all three of those guys. I think all of that has prepared me to be in the position that I’m in today.”
Almeida will also be teaching math at Falmouth High School, filling an open position in that department as well. Driscoll said that he believes that it is important that the football coach be in-house due to the various responsibilities that he must deal with on a daily basis.
Coach Almeida said that he knows that there will be plenty of comparisons between himself and his father, who helped turn around a Falmouth program that had hit rock bottom before he took over. Prior to his father’s first year, the Clippers had suffered through a winless season. His father’s last season was a 9-2 campaign, and the last winning season that FHS has had.
“Derek is his own man,” Driscoll said. “He learned a lot under his father, but he’s not his father.”
Derek Almeida said his father, who won three Super Bowl titles at Fairhaven before coming to Falmouth, congratulated him about being hired. He said that he plans on talking football with his dad in the future regarding his team and what it needs to do on a weekly basis. However, he acknowledged that he and his father are two different people, and that he looks forward to leaving his own mark on the program and building his own legacy.
“I’ve learned a lot from him, and all of the coaches I’ve worked under,” he said. “I know that he’s happy for me.”
In order to get to where Almeida wants the program to be, which is a winning program that will be respected across the state, he said that he will approach things the way that he wants his players to. “You have to prepare yourself to be ready for football...we’re always preparing, you have to be to be successful in life you have to be prepared, you can’t just show up.”
Now that he’s back in Falmouth, Almeida hopes to prepare the Clippers to be successful on the field. He said that beating Barnstable is a big deal to him. His last game as a Falmouth coach was a loss to the Red Raiders, and that hasn’t sat well with him. He said that he hopes to make FHS a regular playoff contender as well.
Almeida has begun interviewing potential assistant coaches. Having spent his previous time as a coach in one of those roles, he believes that a head coach is only as good as the assistants he surrounds himself with.
He said that Falmouth High School’s system has a number of willing and capable people and that he’s excited to see them brought together to help with the process.
“I’m pretty sure that our offense will look to similar to what it looked like (when I coached here before), but a lot of that will depend on who’s on the staff. You need a lot of quality football coaches, and those guys are here,” he said.
Once his staff is chosen, the next step will be catching up on game tapes, both those of his team and its opponents. “I want to get a good idea of what we’ve got coming back, and see the other teams.”
It will be a lot of work, with not much time between now and the opening of preaseason training in mid-August. Almeida believes it is worth it, though.
“There aren’t a lot of jobs that I would have left (GNBVT) to go to, but this is a job that I’ve always wanted,” he said. “I’m planning on being here for a while, and I want to have a successful program.”