FAIRHOPE, Ala. – Philip Rivers said he will trade his dream job of being an NFL quarterback for his other dream job: Head coach for a high school football team like his father (Steve Rivers) who he played for at Athens High. But it won't be this year. He still has some big-league snaps to take and NFL records to set.
“I had two childhood dreams,” Rivers said at St. Michael Catholic High School in Fairhope, May 8. “One was to play in the NFL. The other was to be a high school football coach like my dad. How blessed to be able to live both of those out.”
Rivers will be the head football coach after he retires from the NFL. Until then, SMCHS Athletic Director Paul Knapstein will be the head coach while former head coach and program founder Scott Phelps will stay on as assistant coach.
He’s still living the first dream and his reservation to skipper future Friday nights on the Cardinals’ sideline is booked.
“Following in my father’s footsteps, I think there is just something special about Friday night football and I’m so thankful I get that opportunity here at St. Michael’s. I’m grateful for this opportunity.”
At Athens High, Rivers was an All-State selection in 1999, earned a scholarship to play at North Carolina State and was later drafted in the first round (fourth overall pick) in 2004. He played 16 seasons for the San Diego Chargers, but recently signed a one-year deal to play for the Indianapolis Colts. He added that if all goes well with the Colts, he might stay an additional season or more.
“You get to 38 and play as long as I have,” Rivers said. “I’ve expressed publicly, and the Colts have said too, they hope it’s more than one year. But we take it one year at a time. I love playing. When that time does end, you will get the same passion and work ethic at this school and community that I’ve poured into my career.”
St. Michael’s principal Faustin Weber thanked Phelps for starting, not only the football program from scratch, but all the athletic programs at the school as well. The Cardinals will move up to Class 4A next season.
Steve Rivers coached four seasons at Athens High going 39-10 winning a region title each year. He also coached at Decatur and his overall record in Alabama is 153-78.