From the Midwest to The ‘Ville: Ian Pace doesn’t need to change much to keep the Pioneers’ engine humming

Somerville head coach Ian Pace talks with his players after a summer workout on August 1, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Since Jeff Vanderbeek took over as head coach at the athletic complex that bears his father’s name, Somerville football has been a player, both in its league and statewide.

In his two years as skipper, and the four that followed led by protege Dallas Whitaker, the Pioneers went a combined 57-8, with three state finals appearances and a championship in 2017.

Not too shabby.

But it also means that the new leader of the program won’t have to change much from an expectations standpoint: there’s already a culture of accountability and excellence in The ‘Ville, so much so that Ian Pace can hit the ground running.

Somerville head coach Ian Pace – in the background – watches his players run drills during voluntary summer workouts on August 1, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Pace knew little of Somerville when he was in the AD’s office on a recruiting trip from Division 3 St. John Fisher up near Rochester, but when he learned there was an opening that day, he suddenly became very interested in the job. Plus, it could be a homecoming for his wife, who – as Samantha Clark – was a Top 100 recruit out of St. Rose in Belmar and played collegiately at Fordham.

Besides the “program” already being in place, there’s talent coming back, too. On offense, big numbers return in the form of the senior duo of quarterback Mike Miller and runningback Hashyn Hobbs-Harris.

Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko got a chance to talk to Ian Pace recently. Click below to listen:

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