BC High's Cotter passes away

Former Boston College High football head coach Jim Cotter passed away this morning at the age of 73, after a long battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Cotter, 73, retired from the Dorchester school in 2004 after 41 seasons leading the program. He guided the Eagles to three MIAA Super Bowls during his tenure -- winning in 1977 and 2000 -- posted a 236-145-17 record for his career, and had six players go on to play in the NFL. In 2006, the newly-unveiled FieldTurf at Viola Stadium, the school's football field, was named in his honor before the Eagles' season-opening home victory over Brockton.

A press release sent out by the school this afternoon said that Cotter "died peacefully in his Quincy home surrounded by his family."

"Caring, compassionate, generous and devoted to helping others, Jim Cotter was everything we would ever hope a student at BC High would turn out to be," school President William Kemeza said in the release.

A little more insight from the release:

Cotter saw football as the ultimate teaching opportunity where he could instill in his players values that would prepare them for life. "A lot of former players have told me that what they learned from us meant a lot to their success," said Cotter. "The importance of hard work, or trying to do something you didn’t think you could do. Setting goals – realistic goals, and having a plan to achieve those goals, has all played a role in their development as outstanding men."

In one of his last public appearances at BC High, an event to celebrate the release of a biography of his life tilted "A True Man for Others," Cotter asked those gathered to join him in a prayer for a former student who had been severely injured in a car accident. "Here he was, his body ravaged by ALS, and he asks us to pray for one of his former players," said Dan Shea of Milton. "He was a completely selfless individual who was an inspiration to us all. There will never be another person like him."

B.C. High spokesman Richard Subrizio said in an e-mail earlier this afternoon that calling hours are set for this Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the school. The funeral, set for this Friday at 10 a.m., will also be at the school.

Cotter, who is in the Massachusetts Football Coaches Hall of Fame, graduated from B.C. High in 1955. He was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 1991.

The story was first reported by the Quincy Patriot-Ledger.