BRISTOL - Circle Friday, November 12 on your sports calendars, Watertown High School football fans.
At McPhee Field on that evening at 7 p.m., WHS fans will have the rare opportunity to watch a pair of former WHS players battle it out as head coaches of their respective teams.
Watertown will be led by Shawn Stanco, the sixth head coach in WHS annals who, while named coach for 2020 will be in his rookie season,
Opposing him that night on the Falcons’ sideline will be former WHS lineman Joe Cianciolo, who last week was officiallly named as the replacement for Chris Kennedy.
“The most exciting part is being the head coach is taking more responsibility and play and even stronger part in the [student-athlete’s] lives,” Cianciolo said. “You have a chance to model what you’re talking about. As an assistant, you’re helping transmit the message of the head coach and what they want to portray. As the head coach, you’re more in control, you have the added pressure and things fall on you and I look forward to that. I look forward to having that pressure and I look forward to modeling, to do the right thing for my players and the students that I have.”
Cianciolo, who after graduating from WHS went on to a standout collegiate career at Springfield College, brings plenty of experience to the table, having learned his craft under both Kennedy and the legendary Jude Kelly at St. Paul since joining the program in 2015 as strength and conditioning coach as well as part of the football staff.
The fit was right, according to St. Paul A.D. Dave Dennehy.
“I am excited to welcome Joe as our new head football coach as well as other new members of the staff along with our returning coaches and am looking forward to getting back on McPhee Field and for some Friday night football,” said Dennehy, who also announced the remainder of the Cianciolo’s staff: defensive coordinator Mike Guys, offensive coordinator Ollie Gray III, Bruce Cianciolo and Anthony Mazzarella.
With youth and high football IQ’s, perhaps the next great football coaching rivalry in the NVL will be Stanco vs. Cianciolo, with November 12 the first chapter.