Just a little more than a decade ago, Tommy Connors played on an Archbishop Shaw football team that went 0-9 his freshman year.

The Eagles got on track and went undefeated in the regular season by the time his senior year rolled around.

Now, Connors gets a chance to turn things around at Shaw again.

Connors was named the school's head coach Monday.

"Those memories (from playing here) are special," Connors said. "It's a similar situation. It's humbling, and I'm just very blessed. Once that part settles in, it's just excitement moving forward."

Connors, 28, spent the past seven seasons as an assistant at his alma mater, including the past two years as defensive coordinator.

"I love the fact that he's a Shaw guy," athletic director Tom Alef said. "It makes the transition easy. He grew up here. He knows everybody in the community, and they know him and that can only be a positive. He has a lot of work to do. We have a lot of work to do, and we are not going to have to spend time getting to know anybody."

Connors replaces Scott Bairnsfather, who stepped down in January. Bairnsfather, a 1985 Shaw graduate, had been the school's head coach since 2002.

"The day (Connors) stepped on our campus as an assistant coach we were thinking he's next in line when Scott calls it quits," Alef said. "And all that came true. He had to beat out some very strong competition for this job. We are looking forward to what he's going to bring. He perpetuates the long history we have had with outstanding coaches. We are thinking we can get 25 years out of Tommy and I won't have to go through this process again."

Bairnsfather, who has since been named offensive coordinator at Jesuit, was 87-81 at Shaw and made three consecutive Class 4A state championship game appearances from 2006-08. He'll be replaced by his former assistant and former player who went on to become an All-American defensive back at Southeastern Louisiana in 2009.

"Being the head coach at your alma mater, the extra motivation is real," Connors said. "The support I'm getting already has been very positive for Shaw moving forward."

Shaw finished 1-11 this past season and went 0-6 in Catholic League play. The lone win was a 20-7 victory over Belle Chasse.

Connors is hoping to turn things around, just like he was able to help do as a player. He says it's even more special getting his first head coaching job in his hometown of Marrero.

"I want to make sure that everybody who is playing football as a kid knows that Shaw is doing things the right way and it's a good choice to choose Shaw," Connors said. "We want to get the team together and let's understand the work it takes and know that every day is the most important day."

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.