WATERTOWN - Upon being inducted into the Watertown High School’s Gridiron Club Hall of Fame last November, Shawn Stanco expressed his gratitude by saying “I’m looking forward to continuing to give back to the student athletes here in Watertown.” As an assistant football coach on Luigi Velardi’s staff at the time, Stanco had little idea what the future held for him, but on Monday, February 3, he found out when he was named the sixth head coach in the program’s history, succeeding Velardi, who resigned to spend more time with his family.
WHS Athletic Director Paul Catuccio stated, “We are excited to have Shawn lead the program and look forward to a streamlined transition to a new head coach.”
Stanco, a 2005 WHS graduate, joins a select club which includes Jim Krayeske, Bill Gargano, Roger Ouellette, Mike Veronneau and Velardi as head coaches at WHS since the program’s birth in 1965.
Stanco will inherit a program on solid ground and one with which he is most familiar, having served as offensive coordinator since 2016.
Last season, Stanco’s offense led by senior quarterback Xavier Powell averaged 28.7 points per game as the Indians narrowly missed their second state playoff berth in three years, finishing 7-3.
There will be no getting-to-know-you period needed, as the transition has no reason to be anything other than silky smooth.
You see, Stanco’s Watertown roots run pretty deep as he has been both an athlete and a coach at WHS.
At the age of eight, Stanco began playing Pop Warner football thanks to his Uncle Lou; he would go on to become a four-year varsity high school football player for the Indians.
It didn’t take him long to know what he wanted to focus on, and he began paying his dues by starting at the bottom and working his way up the local coaching ladder.
Stanco began his coaching career while still at WHS with Water-Oak Pop Warner where he taught fundamental values, skills, and knowledge that he believes “young men will use throughout their lives.”
In 2006, he began coaching at WHS as part of Keith Borkowski’s freshmen team staff, going on to advance to the varsity level in 2008 until taking on the OC role in 2016.
In 2017, Stanco’s offense, led by quarterback Nick D’Elia was at the forefront in assisting Velardi in leading the Indians to their first state playoff berth since 1986.
As for his stand on education, Stanco is a firm believer in teaching athletes the importance of education and emulates that in his own life; he is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where he received a Bachelors Degree of Science.
With some coaching experience under his belt, Stanco then decided to extend his reach and pursued a Masters of Education, also from UConn.
Stanco is currently teaching science at Notre Dame High School in Fairfield and is enrolled in UConn’s Administrator Preparation Program, from which he will graduate in May 2020.
Just in time for some spring practice.