Whether you believe in nature, nurture or some combination of the two, you probably could’ve predicted that John Dubzinski Jr. was going to become a football coach.
Dubzinski, who will take over as head coach of the Spy Ponders next month, comes from a football family.
His father John coached at Leominster High for 25 years, amassing a 181-92-2 record. His grandfather Walter, a former NFL center for the New York Giants and Boston Yanks, was the longtime coach at Gardner High before Dubzinski’s uncle, Walter Jr., replaced him. All three are members of the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Dubzinski’s cousin, Michael, also coaches, at Wachusett Regional.
“I just love being a part of the game,” said the 31-year-old Dubzinski, who became Leominster’s water boy right after he learned to walk.
Dubzinski, a former lineman, went on to play for his father at Leominster and then at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. From there, he taught history at Everett High, where he became an assistant coach under John DiBiaso and saw the team win three Super Bowls.
“I saw first hand what it takes to create a championship caliber program,” he said.
Dubzinski, who is now a guidance counselor at an Everett middle school, said he believes Arlington has all the ingredients to become a successful program.
“It’s a process that will take awhile to build up,” he said, “but I think we’ll get there.”
Dubzinski has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Medford High helping rebuild the program.
Arlington, which will begin its inaugural season in the Middlesex League, went 3-8 in the Dual County League last season under head coach Dan Hirsch.
Dubzinski said he favors smashmouth football, where his team controls the lines and grinds out the clock with a power running game. However, he said he’s also willing to adapt his strategy to Arlington’s talent.
His new players have been working on their strength and conditioning over the summer, he said.
Dubzinski said he was drawn to coaching after seeing what his father was able to accomplish.
“Growing up with him,” he said, “I could see the impact a successful coach could have on a young student-athlete.”
Dubzinski’s father, who coached his final season at Leominster last fall, will help coach the Spy Ponders this fall.
Dubzinski said he and his father, along with the team’s other coaches, will try and instill an all-out mentality in the players this season.
“They’re going to have to give 100 percent no matter what they’re doing,” he said. “There are no shortcuts.”
Arlington opens play with scrimmages against Medford, Lincoln-Sudbury and Stoneham.