Foley bids football a fond farewell

From left, Kevin Ebert and Brody Scheff, two 2007 WHS grads, talk with Pat Foley and Waconia assistant coach Terry Gammell.
From left, Kevin Ebert and Brody Scheff, 2007 WHS grads and captains of the 2006 conference championship team, talk with Pat Foley and Waconia assistant coach Terry Gammell.

Through heat, rain, and snow, Waconia head football coach Pat Foley has been on the sidelines of Waconia football fields. He has seen wins, losses, state tournament trips, and games won or lost in the final seconds. But after a quarter-century of celebration, heartache, and everything in between, Foley is retiring from the game.

On Dec. 21, an informal reception was held in the Waconia High School commons to celebrate Foley’s 25 years of coaching Waconia football. People from all corners of Foley’s life turned out for the event including family, current and former players, staff members, coaches from Waconia, and even a few from opposing teams.  

The love of football was instilled in Foley from a young age. His father was a football coach before him and would quiz a young Pat “all the time,” Foley said. Despite losing his father at age 15, the passion for the sport never left.

“I’ve always loved the game,” he said.

Before coming to Waconia, Foley was a teacher and coach at St. Bernard’s High School in St. Paul (closed in 2010). Having grown up in Cambridge, Minn. Foley and his wife, Jeanne, were looking for a similar community to raise their two daughters, then ages eight and four. Luckily for the Foleys, the Waconia School District was looking for a health and physical education teacher as well as a head football coach.

So in 1988, Foley took over a struggling Waconia program that had won just one game during the previous two seasons, and hadn’t seen a conference championship since 1959.

For the full story, see this week’s (Jan. 3) print edition of the Waconia Patriot or the regional pages of this week’s Carver County News.