After an unsuccessful attempt to make it in the NFL, Bobby Abare ’09 has settled for the next best thing — coaching.

Abare, an All-American linebacker and the football team’s 131st captain, will be trading in his helmet and shoulder pads for a clipboard and headset next season as the linebackers coach at Wagner College on Staten Island.

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The Acton, Mass., native will also be working towards a master’s degree in business management at Wagner, a Football Championship Subdivision program in the Northeast Conference. The school announced his hiring last week.

“I always thought about getting into coaching,” Abare said in a telephone interview. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, to give back to the game. I think I can make a career out of it.”

Abare had said he hoped to land with an NFL team following his graduation in May, and it looked as if he might get his wish when the Kansas City Chiefs invited him to participate in a minicamp this spring. But the team ultimately chose not to offer Abare a contract.

“I thought I competed pretty well,” he said. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t what they were looking for but I thought I did pretty well and competed with the best of them. I got no regrets about it. It was a lot of fun.”

After the Chiefs passed on him, Abare said he reached out to former Yale head coach Jack Siedlecki, who retired after last season and now serves as an assistant athletic director, for advice. Siedlecki subsequently put him in touch with officials at Wagner, Abare said.

Several other programs were interested in Abare, but Wagner was the only program with which he interviewed. Ironically, it was a coaching change at Abare’s arch-nemesis, Harvard, that created the vacancy for him to fill: When Seahawks secondary coach Mike Horan accepted a job on the Harvard staff, Wagner’s linebackers coach last season, Joe Todd, moved into Horan’s job, creating the opening for Abare.

Abare won’t be the first Yale football player to start his coaching career at Wagner. Pat Graham ’02 coached at the school and is now an assistant for the New England Patriots.

Siedlecki, for his part, said in an e-mail message that he thinks Abare has a bright future coaching football.

“Bobby’s passion for the game is his number one attribute,” Siedlecki said. “His enthusiasm will be a great asset in coaching and recruiting. I could see Bobby in coaching as a career. He loves the game, is a natural leader and will have great rapport with student athletes, their parents and everyone he works with.”

Abare, meanwhile, promised to keep tabs on the Bulldogs — and, presumably, his twin brother, Larry Abare ’10, a defensive back on the team — as much as possible this fall.

“I’ll follow them every Saturday,” he said. “Unfortunately, the only downside to the job is I won’t be able to make any of the games but I’ll be checking in with them every Saturday and even during the week to see how things are going on up there.”

Abare is set to begin his coaching career on August 8 when training camp begins for Wagner. The Seahawks finished the 2008 season with a 3-8 record overall and a 1-6 mark in the NEC.