John Sousa was one of East Boston High School football program’s most successful coaches with a career record of 119-45.
Jermaine Wiggins is perhaps the most famous alum of the high school’s football team who went onto the NFL and won a Superbowl ring in 2001 with the Patriots.
On Friday, the East Boston High School retired both Sousa and Wiggins’ numbers at halftime during the Jets home game against Boston English.
Sousa, whose teams won nine Boston North divisional titles, and played in six Super Bowls, winning it all in 2004 in a thrilling 28-22 decision over North Shore.
Sousa was also the Captain of the undefeated 1968 Jets football team but as the coach of the Jets Sousa was even better, making Eastie the best program in the city, the one kids wanted to be a part of – and the results showed on and off the field.
When he retired in 2009 at the age of 58, Sousa reflected on his coaching career that spanned 32 years, 15 at East Boston High School. He said his players always worked hard and his coaches were always dedicated to the program.
“We has success through hard work and committed coaches,” said Sousa. “My coaching staff – John Parziale, Eddie Nastari, Brandon Ciaccio, Ryan Conway, Ron Grasso, Ron Pardi, Jimmy Atkins, Tommy Elliott, and John Sousa Jr. – was always great.”
Wiggins, a NFL career tight end was surprisingly known more for his prowess on the basketball court under coach (now headmaster) Michael Rubin during his days at East Boston High, went further in football playing for Georgia and Marshall before heading to the NFL.
Wiggins had his best year playing for the Minnesota Vikings in 2005 and lead the Vikings with a career high 71receptions-more than heralded wide receiver Randy Moss and Nate Burleson that year–and was the third ranking tight end in the NFL.
However, Wiggins became a hero in Eastie for the first time during his remarkable string of playoff successes during the Patriot’s drive to the Super Bowl in 2001. During what would later be dubbed the ‘Snow Bowl’, Wiggins, for the first time that season, became Tom Brady’s favorite target-catching 10 passes for 68 yards helping New England to a 16-13 victory over Oakland. This display became a Pats postseason record.
Then, during Super Bowl XXXVI, Wiggins caught the six-yard pass from Brady that set up Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yard game-winning field goal in the final seconds of the game.