FAIRHOPE, Ala. - Indianapolis Colt quarterback Philip Rivers formally retired from the NFL Jan. 20, indicating he was ready to begin his second career as head football coach of St. Michael Catholic …
FAIRHOPE, Ala. - Indianapolis Colt quarterback Philip Rivers formally retired from the NFL Jan. 20, indicating he was ready to begin his second career as head football coach of St. Michael Catholic School. Last May, the school named Rivers as its future coach, to begin whenever his NFL career ended, and tapped Paul Knapstein, SMCHS athletic director, as the interim head coach.
Rivers will now move to Fairhope this spring to coach St. Michael for its spring practices. He hopes to arrive in time to get to know the players before hand. In fact, anticipation of that weighed heavily in his decision to retire:
“What has helped me come to this (decision) is the growing desire to coach high school football,” he said. “That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s been growing. I can’t wait.” He added: "I can sit here and say, ‘I can still throw it. I love to play,’ ” Rivers said. “But that’s always going to be there. I’m excited to go coach high school football.”
School principal Faustin Weber got the news from Rivers earlier in the week:
“I called Paul to tell him he had to "fire himself" as head coach! In all seriousness, I want to publicly thank Paul for head coaching last year — that’s quite a commitment. His willingness to do so gave us real flexibility in this transition. We’re both thrilled and humbled about Philip joining our staff. His football credentials are impeccable— by any objective measure, he’s up there with the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time.
“But what we’re most excited about is we believe he’ll promote our mission to form “scholars, leaders and disciples of Jesus Christ” in a powerful, credible way. He’s devout in his faith, he’s a good father and husband, and he’ll be a great leader and example to our young men. He’s also fiery and competitive, and we’re OK with that! We feel incredibly blessed to welcome Philip, his wife Tiffany and the whole Rivers clan to our community.”
Director Knapstein added: “This is an exciting time for St. Michael. We are extremely grateful to see coach Rivers taking the reins to our program. It is truly God's providence that our program will be led by a person with coach Rivers' experience and character, both on the field and off. We’ve come a long way these first five years. We are excited to see where Coach Rivers and his staff will take us in the future.”
For Rivers, the date to retire was significant.
"Every year, January 20 is a special and emotional day. It is St. Sebastian's feast day (the patron saint of athletes), the day I played in the AFC championship without an ACL, and now the day after 17 seasons I am announcing my retirement from the NFL."
At the completion of his career, Rivers ranks fifth all-time in passing yards with 64,440 yards, fifth all time in touchdown passes with 421, fifth in completed passes, and top 15 in completion percentage at 64.9 percent. From 2006 until his retirement, Rivers started every game at quarterback for a streak of 240 consecutive games, third longest streak of all time. For all but one year, he was a San Diego/Los Angeles Charger, where he was the face of the franchise.
He signed as a free agent with the Indianapolis in 2020 and led the Colts to an 11-5 record and a play-off berth, and finished the season with 4,169 yards, 24 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a 68 percent completion rate. He retires ranked first among NFL quarterbacks from the state of Alabama in passing yards with Foley legend Kenny Stabler No. 2 at 27,938.
The Rivers announcement is part of a larger narrative of “good news” for St. Michael since it opened in 2016. Having reached near maximum enrollment by 2018, the school launched a successful 5.1 million dollar campaign to build an athletic complex. As a first phase, the school purchased 40 adjacent acres of land, making it an 80-acre campus. The second phase—a field house with four locker-rooms, a weight room, coaches’ offices, a PT room and a meeting room—is set to be dedicated next month.
Future phases will include a soccer/football stadium, a baseball field, and additional parking. Recently Baldwin County finished a Highway 181 connector to St. Michael, making the school accessible from both north and south. The new road is named “St. Michael Way.”
To see more on River's and St. Michael Catholic High, see (RELATED LINK BELOW) and more at: StMichaelCHS.org.