Mercy hires former NFL QB as football coach

Five months after the surprise dismissal of Jeff Doroski as McGann-Mercy’s varsity football coach, the school made a splash Friday in announcing his replacement.

Michael Buck, who spent four years in the NFL as a quarterback with the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals, will take over the program, which will begin official practices in mid August. The 47-year-old most recently coached the varsity football team at Calhoun High School in Merrick.

Buck appeared in 12 games in his NFL career, making one start in 1993 with the Saints. He threw 5 touchdowns in his pro career after playing in college at the University of Maine, where he was the conference Offensive Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989.

Buck also worked in the Arena Football League as the head coach and director of football operations for the Pensacola Barracuda, the Norfolk Nighthawks and the Lubbock Lonestars, according to a press release.

He’ll take over a program that struggled through a 1-7 season last year that came on the heels of a surprising playoff run the previous season. Doroski had coached the previous three seasons at Mercy before being informed in January by newly hired athletic director Paul Mastronardi that he would not be rehired as the head coach. Doroski was offered the chance to stay as an assistant, but he declined and eventually became the head coach of Riverhead High School’s softball team. Varsity baseball coach Ed Meier elected not to return as the coach last spring in the wake of the Doroski news. Doroski had also coached Mercy’s JV baseball team.

Doroski’s departure created controversy at Mercy, where the majority of students and supporters of the program seemed puzzled by the decision. Parents loudly objected to the move at a closed-door meeting in February with Mastronardi and principal Carl Semmler.

During the meeting, Mastronardi highlighted football as one of the sports he targeted for improvement.

“Football is the No. 1 area,” he said during the meeting. “My area of expertise is football. I know what I want.”

Also included in the sports he targeted were girls soccer and basketball. On those fronts, the school announced other changes.

Matt Brisson was hired to coach the girls basketball team. The Monarchs had a surprising season last year making it to the playoffs under first-year coach Brian Babst. After an 0-18 season the prior year, the Monarchs won a playoff game against Port Jefferson.

Brisson previously coached at Sachem East High School, leading the Flaming Arrows to Suffolk County titles in 2013 and 2014. The Flaming Arrows won the state championship in 2010.

Brisson was named Suffolk County’s Coach of the Year in the 2014 by Newsday. He posted a career record of 218-48 at Sachem East.

Brisson retired as Sachem East’s coach in March, an announcement that became public right before the team was about to play in the Long Island Championship, according to a Newsday article.

Mary Jackson, a science teacher at Mercy, will coach the girls varsity soccer team this fall. She replaces Meaghan Macarthur, who was a standout athlete at Mercy. She coached varsity the past two years. Jackson played soccer at LIU Southampton and on a semi-pro team after graduation. Jackson previously coached Mercy’s junior varsity team since 2000, according to Mercy.

“By complementing the already talented coaching staff in place at McGann-Mercy with these new appointments, we hope to continue the momentum generated over the past year in bringing our athletic program to a higher level and look forward to great success in the year to come.”

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