1. What is your education/coaching background and what are you doing now?
After graduating from Fredonia State University, I started as the boys varsity soccer coach at Fayetteville-Manlius the summer after. I moved to Syracuse from my hometown of Webster and taught sixth grade at Donlin Drive in Liverpool as a one year long-term substitute position. The following year, I took a fifth grade position in F-M. I taught at the middle school level for five or six years before moving to high school, where I taught U.S. history and economics until June of 2020. I retired from teaching full time at that point, but took a long-term substitute position that next fall until Christmas break. I have continued to be a daily sub since then. I just finished my 35th and last season coaching this past fall. Now that I am retired, I look forward to spending more time with my family. My wife Erin and I love Syracuse University basketball, playing golf, and spending time on our boat. I look forward to watching my son Ben play lacrosse at St. John Fisher. I also will enjoy spending more time with my daughter, Ashley, and my grandson, Landon, who is 14 months old.
2. After 35 years, you have finished your last season as the boys’ varsity soccer coach at Fayetteville-Manlius High School. That must be a mixture of emotions. How does that feel?
The last two seasons coaching have been a challenge with COVID. The 2020 fall season almost didn’t happen. We played 11 games, and there were no sectionals or state tournaments. The players were great and really appreciated the opportunity to compete. We finished 11-0 and made the most of our abbreviated season. This past fall, we finished 19-1-1 and were sectional and regional champion, and lost in the state semi-finals. I couldn’t have asked for a better last year of coaching. We have great student athletes at F-M who represent the school and community with pride every day.
3. Congratulations on being named Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations. What will you miss the most about coaching?
Coaching has been a big part of my life for a long time. I will miss the daily interaction with the players the most. I love practice and preparing for games. I still get excited and nervous on game days. There is no better feeling than seeing the boys win a big game and the excitement on their faces. I have made a lot of great friends over the years and the coaches in our league are great competitors who all respect one another.
4. What advice would you give to high school coaches, in any sport, about the changes during this COVID era?
The last two years have been really hard on our students and educators. The rules seem to change daily and there is nothing normal anymore, unfortunately. We need to appreciate every day we get a chance to be in school and compete on the field or on the court. The level of excellence our students, athletes, and staff continue to perform at is amazing during these difficult times.
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