Coaches Corner: Rob Orell

By: Adam Pasquale Jr.
Pirates Writer
February 12, 2021

I recently had the opportunity to interview Pirates’ offensive line coach Rob Orell. A native of Worcester, MA, Orell attended Holy Name Central Catholic High School where he played football throughout his high school years. He then attended Nichols College to study English and was an offensive lineman on the football team for his entire college career. As he was getting ready to graduate from Nichols College, Orell got an opportunity to play professional indoor football in South Carolina that summer.

After playing for the Myrtle Beach Masters for one season, Orell received an unexpected phone call that would pave the way for his coaching future. Nichols College reached back out to him and offered him a coaching position. Orell decided to accept the job and work towards a master’s degree at the same time. Coaching was always the plan for Orell, but he never thought he would have the opportunity at such a young age.

As a 23-year-old, Orell was the Nichols running backs coach in 2018 and led his unit to 1,735 rushing yards that season which ranked third in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

Orell credits his playing time at Nichols to his hard-working style of coaching. Through all the ups and downs, he knew as long as he and his teammates gave their maximum efforts day in and day out, anything would be possible.

“As a player at Nichols, we had three seasons in which we went 1-9 and that obviously stinks and makes it increasingly difficult to come together as a team. We had a group of seniors that were fantastic leaders and took full control of the team,” said Orell. “We worked out more over the summer and put our feet down in the offseason and came together as a family and it showed in the tough games when we faced adversity that we were no longer the old Nichols team. We fought to the final whistle no matter the score and that leadership is something I carry with me as a coach. I want guys that will give me their all and put everything on the line on every single play.”

Before coaching with the Pirates, Orell attended a few home games to see what it was all about. That is when his former arena football coach Billy Savary, who was coaching for the Pirates at the time, informed him that the Pirates were looking for coaching help on the offensive line. It was a suggestion that Orell couldn’t resist and he became fired up for the opportunity.

As far as his coaching style goes, Orell believes it is all about the environment around him. There are times where he needs to be loud and aggressive and there are other times he needs to be strategic about how he goes at his players. It all comes very naturally for him.

Orell at a Nichols College football practice.

“I am all about the environment. If energy is needed, I’m there. One thing I used to do at Nichols is a player and I would end up on the sideline head butting each other while he had his helmet on. It was my way of getting the guys fired up and ready to go for the game,” says Orell. “There are other times I just sit back and learn from the defense and sometimes yelling isn’t needed because it can distract you from the task at hand. I want to know what is going on and always be the coach that the players can count on, no matter the situation.”

Orell is incredibly thankful for all of the great coaches he has met throughout his football career. He believes that they shaped him into the coach he is today and is grateful he got to work with them.

“I am currently learning so much from coach Thompson, the new offensive coordinator for the Pirates. He has been a great guy to be around and helped me grow as a man and a coach. I also give a lot of credit to all the wonderful coaches at Nichols who allowed me to become the man and coach I am today. I am always texting my previous coaches and they all set a prime example of what a coach is supposed to look like.”

If he wasn’t coaching, Orell believes he would be working with kids in some kind of way. He originally wanted to become an English teacher before his coaching career took off. He has always had a great passion for giving back to his community and hopes to make an impact on many young kids one day.

“My goal was always to work with kids which is why I wanted to be an English teacher. Some of the teachers I had growing up helped me so much during my childhood and I wanted to have an impact on other kids that are in a similar situation. I work part-time with the Boys and Girls Club which has been a blessing for me. I am doing everything I can to mentor them and guide them in the right direction.”

When he is away from the football field Orell enjoys hanging back with his friends. He also enjoys playing video games in his free time as well as relaxing and watching film on other teams and players.

“Being with my friends is a huge thing for me. I enjoy spending quality time with my buddies and kicking back and relaxing. I am also a big gamer,” Orell adds. “Call of Duty: Warzone has been my go-to game lately and I’ve been getting some wins on the sticks. One goal I have for this year is to get more into reading. I have been putting the controller down and picking up a book more often than I have in the past and I am enjoying it.”

The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email or visit Single-game tickets are available online at or the DCU Center Box Office. For season, half-season, luxury, or group ticket packages please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook via, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates. #GetHooked #AllAboard