Center Moriches boys soccer coach Chris O’Brien and his son Liam at the Suffolk County Soccer Coaches Association awards dinner last December. (Photo courtesy of Chris O’Brien)

Long-time Center Moriches High School boys soccer coach Chris O’Brien is retiring — as a teacher.

O’Brien announced to his current class on his Facebook page Friday that he will retire as a sixth-grade teacher after 36 years in the Center Moriches School District.

“Today is the last day of distance learning lessons!” he wrote. “And our SS (social studies) lesson is a short reading assignment written by me!!

“In one of the worst kept secrets, I am writing to let all of you know that I will be retiring as of next Friday June 26th.”

Toward the end of his piece, O’Brien belied any fears of Moriches soccer supporters, saying that he wasn’t leaving as coach of the Red Devils’ boys soccer team.

“I still will be coaching the boys varisty soccer team, so I urge you to stop by a game next fall and say hello!” he wrote.

Entering his 24th year as head coach this fall, he has won two New York State championships (2009 and 2017) and eight Suffolk County titles while posting a 276-122-25 record. Moriches (15-3-4) is the County Class B defending champion, losing to Skaneateles in the Class B championship game last November. Moriches has won the counties in 2001, 2002, 2006, 2009 and from 2016-19.

O’Brien, who grew up in Southold, N.Y. and graduated from Southold High School and Southern Connecticut University, thanked the countless principals, teachers, staff and students he either has worked with or taught through the years. He spent the first 18 years at Clayton Huey School and the last 18 at Center Moriches Middle School.

“I was fortunate to work with many excellent principals, teachers, staff and especially the wonderful kids of Center Moriches. Each and every group was unique and special in their own way … but to all of you reading this, you will always be a very special collection of kids!!,” O’Brien wrote. “You will always be my last group!!! So many of you were able to work through the difficulties of distance learning and rise to a wonderful level of accomplishment. Thou I missed seeing each of you every day, I appreciated the notes and greetings which you sent along with your completed lessons! I leave the halls of CMMS with no regrets as I can say that I had the most wonderful job in the world!! I hope that I was able convey my love of Ancient Civilizations and Global History.”