1-How long have you been coaching?
This fall will be my 14th season as Head Coach at Jamestown, and my 18th season total.
2-Where was your first coaching job?
My first job was coaching at Southwestern High School. Jay Sirianni was the head coach at the time and a lifelong friend. His brother Nick and I are best of friends so we have known each other for almost my entire life. He invited me to volunteer on his staff my first year out of college. It was a great experience that I enjoyed, and I learned a lot as a young coach.
3- Jamestown had a very good spring season. What will it take for that to continue this fall?
We spend a lot of time meeting as a team in order to build a championship culture. It’s important that all of our players and coaches share the same vision, values, and goals. That is a foundational piece to our success. In addition, we have a very good group of returning players who work hard and have an excellent attitude. That type of experience is a huge element to success. Having coachable players who work hard and are consistent is a huge component to a good team. But to be great, our best players must inspire others to raise their level of performance. We also want to make sure that our players are extremely competitive people who want our team to win every Friday night!
4- Who is the best player you have ever coached?
That is a difficult question because I have coached so many excellent players who have served different roles. What I am most proud of is the outstanding people I have coached. I have been coaching long enough now that I can see former players becoming husbands, fathers, employees, and community leaders. To know that the Jamestown Football experience played a role in their personal development makes me proud.
5- How much fun is it to coach a beast-like Jaylen Butera?
Coaching Jaylen is a lot of fun. It’s fun to watch him compete on Friday nights, but it’s also fun to coach him during the week. He is coachable, consistent, and willing to learn new things. He has a great personality so we have an excellent relationship with one another. He is a great teammate who inspires others by the way he plays and the way he treats others.
6- What adjustments did you and the team have to make having a girl on the team?
We did not have to make a lot of adjustments. Ella was tremendous, and the guys on the team treated her really well. Ella is a hard worker who focuses on what she needs to do each day to help our team, which earned the respect of her teammates. She was our best kicker, and our players know that the best players are the ones to play the most, so there were no surprises when she was our starting kicker.
7- Can you tell our readers how much a ticket cost to attend a Jamestown home game?
Admittance into every Jamestown Red Raiders home game is free. Children and students up to the 8th grade must enter the stadium with an adult.
8- What are your thoughts about playing out-of-state opponents?
I am open to the idea of playing out-of-state opponents. However, our schedules rarely match up for an early-season game since PA and OH schools start before we do. One of our rivals from years ago was Warren, PA. We have tried to renew that rivalry a few times but it has always been a scheduling issue. In addition, we have a lot of quality opponents we can play in WNY in our non-league games. For example, we have played non-league games vs. Canisius and Bishop-Timon over the years, who are excellent private schools in Buffalo. This year we play Orchard Park in our only non-league game of the season. Orchard Park is a traditional rival so this game is very important to our players, coaches, and community.
9- Which defeat still keeps you up at night?
If you coach for a long time, you are going to experience peaks and valleys. That is part of coaching. Losing is a terrible feeling and sometimes it takes a few days or weeks to get over a tough loss. What is most important is the evaluation and analysis so you can learn from it. As a coach, it’s important to evaluate every game – win or loss – to learn from it. Once you do that, you have to move on to the next game. Coaches are always looking ahead to the next thing, but after a win or loss, it’s important to take the next 24-48 hours to watch the film, take notes, and share them with the coaching staff and players, so you can use the experience to help you improve.
10- Is there that one coach you love going up against?
If so which coach and why?
There are so many excellent coaches that we go up against – too many to mention. But I don’t think of it as me against them. My job is to prepare my players for every situation they may encounter in a game. Preparation leads to confidence and we want our players to play fast because they know their roles and assignments. So our job as a staff is to prepare our players, then make adjustments when they are needed. Outside of that, our job on Friday nights is to encourage and support our players’ efforts!
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts in this interview!