Football: Brunswick hires Mark Renna as head coach
Mar. 9—Mark Renna said that when he looked around at varsity football coaching vacancies, Brunswick High "just checked off a lot of boxes and that was my No. 1 school."
Renna, 44, who has coached high school football for 22 seasons, was officially hired Thursday as Brunswick's varsity football coach. Renna, the head coach at Gray-New Gloucester from 2014-16, was an assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Yarmouth from 2020-22. Yarmouth won the eight-man Large School championship in 2022.
Brunswick intends to play eight-man football for the first time this fall.
"I would like to get the program back to 11-man," Renna said. "I feel very comfortable going back and forth (coaching) 11-man to eight-man. I'm not sure of the other candidates, but I do think that might have put me ahead, having eight-man experience."
Renna will be the program's third coach in three seasons. Last season, the Dragons were 0-8 in Class B North under first-year coach Brandon Dorsett and were outscored 388-34. Brunswick won five Class B North titles from 2014-19 and the 2016 state title. The 2020 season was wiped out by the pandemic, and the school canceled the remainder of its 2021 season after only five games in the wake of a preseason hazing incident that eventually led to the removal of longtime head coach Dan Cooper.
Brunswick needed a waiver from the Maine Principals' Association to reinstate its program for the 2022 season.
Renna said his first steps toward rebuilding the program would be, "Just show up and show the kids you care. Get in the school. Get in the weight room.'
Renna grew up in Portland and graduated from Cheverus High in 1997 before playing two seasons of college football at Plymouth State in New Hampshire. He has worked for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office for nearly 19 years, currently serving as a trustee coordinator at the correctional facility.
His first coaching job was at Cheverus for head coach Bill LeRoy and assistant Jack Dawson. He also had stints as an assistant at Scarborough, Westbrook and Portland before taking over a downtrodden Gray-New Gloucester program. The Patriots went 4-21 in Renna's three seasons.
After resigning from that position, Renna rejoined Jim Hartman's staff at Portland and then shifted to Yarmouth, where Hartman had taken over as head coach.
Renna said he looked at the other southern Maine coaching vacancies, specifically Portland, Cape Elizabeth, and recently, Gray-New Gloucester.
"I made a list of what programs would be appealing to me and Brunswick had the most check boxes," Renna said. "Brunswick has a youth program that I can work with. Portland's youth program, I can't get involved with because "it feeds both Portland and Deering. ... Portland's boosters are limited now. Brunswick has a strong booster community."