Fort Lupton elevates O’Connor as new football coach

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In the world of Fort Lupton’s new football coach, the COVID-shortened season turned into a chance to become the head coach of the Bluedevils. 

“After being a part of the program for a short six-week season, I realized that I was meant to be a part of Fort Lupton somehow,” said Joey O’Connor, who was FLHS’ offensive coordinator. “Fort Lupton is a tight-knit community. Just in the first couple of weeks as a part of the staff, I realized the sense of pride the kids and people had for this town. When the position opened, I knew that I needed to apply because of the relationships I had made with the kids and support staff of the program. The small town and community are very much like the one I grew up in. It seemed like a perfect fit and opportunity, so I jumped on it.” 

Being on the Fort Lupton staff — even for a six-week season — had another benefit for O’Connor. 

“The fact that I have already been able to build relationships with the kids and people within the building is going to have a great impact on our success,” he said. “The players know my coaching style and have been around me enough to where it won’t be a shock to them, and we can build this thing together.” 

The key words for the Bluedevils on both sides are the ball will be “fast-paced” and “aggressive.” 

“I have coached and played in many different systems. With that said, on the offensive side of the ball, you can expect us to run the ball a lot in a pro-style offense,” O’Connor said. “On the defensive side of the ball, we will be running a 3-5 that will be very aggressive.” 

Like a lot of coaches, O’Connor takes a little bit from each coach to fit into his style. 

“Over the course of my football career -- whether it was playing or coaching -- I have always observed the little things in every program that I had the opportunity to be a part of,” he said. “I would not be the coach I am today without experiencing each of those programs. I am lucky to have some great mentors as a player and a coach to get me to where I am today. I will take certain things that I learned from each experience and apply it to how I run our program. But it will be different in its own way.” 

O’Connor is a graduate of Windsor High School, where he won a state football title. O’Connor also earned a full-ride scholarship to The Ohio State University. But an injury cut the football career short and sent O’Connor into coaching. 

O’Connor coached at University High School for four years. During that time, UHS made the playoffs for the first time in 31 seasons. His next stop was Lutheran High School in Parker, where he was the run-game and special-teams coordinator. 

“He brings a lot of passion to the game and genuinely cares about the development of student-athletes into young adults,” said a statement from athletic director Jim Roedel. “Growing up in a small town, he realizes the importance of community support and the impact that a football program can have in bringing the community together.” 

O’Connor has a 3-year-old son, Rory. 

A meet the coach night is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, in the school commons. Masks are required. 

“I am extremely proud to be the new head football coach for Fort Lupton High School,” O’Connor said. “We have a lot of work to do in order for us to be successful, and I don’t just mean with wins and losses. It is very important to me that these kids are students first; athletics come second to that. I want our success to not only be judged by our wins and our losses but by our character, GPA and graduation rate. It is going to take us time to get where we want to be, and we will dominate the process.”

Fort Lupton's new football coach is Joey O'Connor. He takes over for Dustin Duff, who stepped aside earlier this year.

O'Connor was the Bluedevils' offensive coordinator in 2020. He's a graduate of Windsor High School, where he won a state football title. O'Connor also earned a full-ride scholarship to The Ohio State University. But an injury cut the football career short and sent O'Connor into coaching.

O'Connor coached at University High School for four years. During that time, UHS made the playoffs for the first time in 31 seasons. His next stop was Lutheran High School in Parker, where he was the run-game and special-teams coordinator.

"He brings a lot of passion to the game and genuinely cares about the development of student-athletes into young adults," said a statement from athletic director Jim Roedel. "Growing up in a small town, he realizes the importance of community support and the impact that a football program can have in bringing the community together."

O'Connor has a 3-year-old son, Rory.

A meet the coach night is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, in the school commons. Masks are required.

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