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St. Anne’s-Belfield football coach John Blake announces retirement

john blake
John Blake stands next to his famous Right 46 call to open each game. Two historic football photos adorn the walls, including one of Coach Blake and his son, Patrick Blake ’16, who is now an alum and coaches for the team. Photo courtesy St. Anne’s-Belfield School.

After 25 years as St. Anne’s-Belfield’s head varsity football coach, John Blake will retire at the end of this current season.

Blake’s career includes 175 wins and 75 losses, 11 VISAA Division 2 Football state championship game appearances, with six state titles, and three program alumni who have gone on to the NFL.

Blake began coaching football at St. Anne’s-Belfield in the fall of 1997 and also coached boys’ lacrosse, girls’ lacrosse and boys’ basketball during his sports tenure. Prior to joining the school, he coached football, boys’ basketball, and boys’ lacrosse at Western Albemarle High School, leading the WAHS boys’ lacrosse team to state championships in 1990 and 1991.

“It has been a pleasure to be the head of this program. It has been challenging, rewarding, and a blessing,” Blake said. “After 25 years, I know it is time to pass the reins to someone new. As the head coach, I will forever cherish the relationships with the players and coaches on this journey. I’m stepping aside as coach, but not from St. Anne’s-Belfield. I love this school, and believe in its new leadership and direction. I am looking forward to working with our Athletic Director Seth Kushkin and our Head of School Dr. Graves, to pick the next leader of the program.”

While hanging up his football gear, Coach Blake will remain a familiar face at the school, continuing to serve as director of alumni relations. He has held the position since 2012, previously serving in a variety of roles including director of buildings and grounds.

“Coach Blake is a true champion and all of us in the St. Anne’s community are thankful for everything he has brought to our athletic programs over the years,” says Director of Athletics Seth Kushkin. “I know he will never be far from the sidelines. I am appreciative of the support he will bring to his successor once we look ahead.”

“John Blake is a wise leader of young men and I hold him in the highest regard for his dedication to our School and athletics program,” says Head of School Autumn A. Graves. “We will miss his tenure and character in the football program, but I respect John’s decision to step away to focus on other aspects of his life. Like many, I am thankful that we will continue to have his maturity and passion as a leader in our community.”