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BJ Tally ('17) Returns to SJCS to Teach, Coach Boys Soccer

By Bob Castello
Communications Manager

After helping the St. Joseph's boys soccer team to three state finals and two championships, BJ Tally figured he would be no more than a visitor in the future at his alma mater.

However, after playing four years of soccer at The College of Wooster and graduating from the Ohio school in December, BJ has returned to St. Joe's. He's working as a substitute teacher while serving the boys soccer program as Head Junior Varsity Coach and Assistant Varsity Coach.

"It was a little weird being back the first couple weeks, a change of perspective from being a student to being a teacher," BJ said. "But I've enjoyed it. It's been nice being back."

BJ, a four-year starter on defense at The College of Wooster, contributed nine assists, including a team-leading four as a sophomore. He majored in history and education.

"Going to college, I didn't really know what I wanted to do," he said. "My mom said, 'Just teach. See what that's like.' I took a class, and that was really all she wrote. I didn't really want to give up soccer after college, so this was the next best thing."

Varsity Coach Frank Kucinic reached out in November, and BJ told him he was looking for a full-time teaching position. Coach K called again in January and said the school was in need of substitute teachers and that BJ could have coaching positions with the JV and Varsity.

"It was an offer I couldn't pass," BJ said. "It's been a great opportunity. I've had a lot of fun changing caps from being a player to being a coach."

Coach K said as a player, BJ was "a class-act athlete both on and off the field."

"Now as a coach he displays those same qualities," Coach K said. "He helps our young men discover what they are capable of by embodying character and courage on the sideline, showing them it is possible to prevail when the odds are stacked against them, responding with empathy and grace in a critical moment and freeing them to see, feel and embody self-narratives of hope and possibility.

"The biggest thing that Coach Tally brings is that he recognizes our soccer players have distinct gifts and capacities, and he encourages them all in all their endeavors both on and off the field. He's a great role model. Our players love having him as a coach."

BJ knows a little something about overcoming the odds, having played in one of the more memorable games in the history of the St. Joe's program.

After BJ was on St. Joe's teams that won Class 1A state titles in 2015 and 2016, the Knights played Christ Church in the 2017 Class 2A Upper State final. Trailing 3-0 with 14 minutes remaining, the Knights rallied for a 4-3 victory (click HERE for story).

"It's still unbelievable," said BJ (shown below celebrating the victory). "People talk about it to this day. It's definitely a memory I will never, ever forget. Unfortunately we didn't complete the state championship, but in our minds that was a huge win and monumental in our St. Joe's careers. It was awesome."