Bristol native and former Southington High head coach Jonathan “D.J.” Hernandez is returning to Connecticut to be a high school football head coach again.
Ledyard High School Athletic Director Jim Buonocore sent out a tweet on Friday afternoon welcoming the Bristol Central grad to the school and multiple media outlets were also reporting the hire.
Hernandez is the older brother of Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end currently imprisoned in Massachusetts on a life sentence without chance of parole in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd while awaiting trial regarding a double homicide in a separate incident.
An All-State and Gatorade State Player of the Year at Bristol Central, Jonathan Hernandez went on to become a two-time captain at UConn, where he played quarterback and receiver. He was the head coach at Southington High during the 2010 season, when the Blue Knights went 8-2 but missed the playoffs.
Hernandez endured some controversy while head coach at Southington, when he admittedly used a Manchester player’s armband with plays on it during a game after that player had lost it, resulting in a one-game suspension, $1,000 fine and one year’s probation for the program.
Yet, in a 2014 interview, he said he still has fond memories of his time in Southington.
“The biggest thing is I’ve grown tremendously since being head coach at Southington High School at age 24,” he said. “I’m still growing every day.”
He added, “I was honored to be a head coach at [that] high school … and I had a great time. It was probably one of the most enjoyable times of my life to date.”
Hernandez resigned from that position to accept an assistant coach position with Brown University. He went on to become an offensive graduate assistant at the University of Miami in 2012 and later the University of Iowa before stepping away from coaching to run his own business.
According to reports, Hernandez will also serve as a student support/in school suspension supervisor at Ledyard and will begin work on Jan. 30, the start of the second semester. He will be moving back to Connecticut with his wife Karen and infant daughter Parker.