Football Coach Papadopoulos proves unstopadopoulos


Kyle Perel

Football experienced a big change this season, and that change can be summed up in two words: Coach Pap. But to really understand this man’s passion for football, you have to really get to know him. Chris Papadopoulos was born and raised in Gaithersburg, and graduated from Wootton in 2012. Football has been a passion of Papadopoulos’s for as long as he can remember, though he did not began playing football until his freshman year of high school, as his mom would not let him until then.
He played here under current head coach Eddie Tolliver, and as a junior he became the starting quarterback. Papadopoulos excelled as a junior in a game most current students remember when he led the Patriots to a 48-42 quadruple overtime victory against rival Churchill. As a senior he led Montgomery County in passing yards.
Upon graduating from Wootton, Papadopoulos attended the University of Maryland where graduated with a finance and marketing degree. In his freshman and sophomore year, he interned with Maryland’s football team as a recruiting/coaching assistant. Upon graduating, he landed a prestigious job, but extremely time consuming job at Raymond James as a investment banking analyst. He goes into work at 8:30 am and usually does not get home until anywhere from 11 P.M. to 2 A.M. That leaves him with about six hours of his own time on some days, all of which are spent on football. However, if you ask him what he’s thinking about at work, he’ll blatantly tell you, “Football. Football is always on my mind, and thinking about Friday is what gets me through the long weeks.”
Last year, in his first season coaching, Papadopoulos was the JV head coach, leading the team to a 6-2 record. Papadopoulos was promoted to varsity offensive coordinator and he couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. “I can’t thank Coach Tolliver enough for trusting me and giving me this opportunity to give back to my school. It’s been amazing to work with such an experienced staff, between four of our coaches they have over 100 years of combined experience and have been doing this since before I was born.” Papadopoulos said.
Some may think he is crazy for investing so much time into high school football after graduating college and landing a prestigious job, but for Papadopoulos, there is nothing else he would rather be doing. Whether it’s his catchy phrases that stick around, like “mass, the city, Noelhomie,” or his constant encouragement, the players on the team love him and aren’t afraid to say so. “Coach Pap has put in countless hours with me trying to make me not just a better player, but a better person too. He puts in so much of his own time for the team, and really helped bring this team together, and I’ll forever be grateful for that,” starting quarterback Grant Saylor said.
If you talk to anyone on the team or check out the atmosphere on the sidelines during a game, one of the biggest changes between this season and the last is the level of fun. “The two biggest rules I have with players are honesty and fun. No matter what always be honest about everything. And having fun is the most important. If you aren’t having fun you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing. The more fun the kids are having, the more you will get out of them,” Papadopoulos said.
Papadopoulos will look to continue the team’s hot start and lead the team into the playoffs, while maintaining his sometimes 15-hour-a day-job and somehow finding time in-between all of it to sleep. He is confident that Wootton football has a bright future ahead, stating “not only is the talent level extremely high, but this is a great group of kids.”
He hopes that all this time will help those he touches in more aspects of life than just football. “What I love the most about coaching is having the opportunity to have a positive influence on kids’ lives, both inside and outside of football. I hope that I have and will continue to teach these kids not only about football but life,” he said.


Geoff Pisarra

Staff Writer