SOUTH BEND — Ben Downey, head football coach of the Saint Joseph High School Indians since 2010, is stepping down. Under his leadership, the Indians were sectional champs in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015; regional champs in 2010, 2011 and 2015; semi-state winners in 2010 and 2011; and state runner up in 2010 and 2011.
Downey’s constant encouragement of the students, on and off the field, is one of the many things that made his program a success. He is a great leader of young men, always encouraging faith and family in his football team.
“When at halftime of your first game you’re losing so badly the refs ask if you want a running clock (absolutely not!), and when in your first season you’re the first head coach in school history to begin 0-3, you learn to remind yourself that the game of football is about more than wins and losses,” said Ben Downey.
“Football at Saint Joe is about (in order of importance) relationships, lessons learned and championships,” he said. “We didn’t win championships every year, but we certainly built meaningful relationships and learned, often the hard way, our share of lessons. It’s the relationships forged that I cherish the most from my six years as head coach at Saint Joe.”
He added, “I loved coaching the players, and I loved coaching with my staff, but more importantly, I love the players and the staff; they are my second family. Together we won, lost, laughed, cried, picked up championship trophies and picked each other up after painful defeats. This was our right of passage into the Saint Joe football brotherhood, where forever we’ll be linked.”
“I fully intended to be the head football coach at Saint Joe for the next 20 years,” he said. “As my kids got older putting the team first meant missing more and more activities.”
“If I’ve earned a place in heaven years from now when I pass, every day will consist of me being huddled together in the corner of an endzone with Saint Joe players and staff after a victory,” he said. “After a few comments about our performance, and after a prayer and a Saint Joe break, players will go sing the school song to our fans, and I’ll work my way to my wife Lindsey to give her a long hug. At some point in the process my kids will have either joined the team huddle, or they’ll be running around on the field playing catch with their friends.”
He added, “Thankfully Coach Carrier will be there, the only person who remembers that, even after a victory, there is equipment to put away.”
“This is my heaven, and because of the efforts of more people in the Saint Joe community than I have room to name, I was able to experience this 52 times … I am blessed. Thank you,” noted Downey.
Saint Joseph High School administration and athletics will conduct a thorough search for a new head coach in the upcoming weeks.
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