Why did you enter the coaching profession?
As a former High School student athlete, some of the people who had the most profound influence on me throughout my High school experience were my coaches. As I entered the education profession, it was my hope to be that same positive influence on the student athletes I worked with. I believe that the coaches have a very unique bond with their players; one that cannot be replicated in any other realm of education.
What is your philosophy in coaching?
My goal as a coach is to foster an environment where kids and coaches alike care about one another. Helping to coach kids in life is my first responsibility as I see it. Building young men of character will make a far more lasting impact than any other win or championship. I firmly believe that if kids care about one another and their coaches, and know that their coaches and teammates feel the same about them, all the other stuff, including winning, takes care of itself.
What brings you the most satisfaction in coaching?
When young men whom I've coached come back to me and say "thank you", and express that the lessons they learned as student-athletes have helped propel them to greater successes in life.
What was your greatest win in coaching High School Football?
The 2003 Section VI Class AA Championship game vs. Orchard Park...it was a hard-fought grudge match between two great teams. My gameday role on the staff was to work the end of the headsets in the pressbox. For the Championship game, I brought my dad with me into the pressbox, and he stood with me the whole game. I'll never forget the feeling I had as I watched the final seconds tick off the clock, and it began to sink in that was the first person to hug and congratulate me was my father, the person who has influenced me the most throughout my life.
What were your most memorable moments in coaching High School Football?
The times spent with players and colleagues away from the game field. The hard work in practice, in the weight room, and in the classroom has taught me so much about being a professional . As I stated before, when kids come back to express their gratitude for the positive influence you've had upon their success, that makes it all worth it. As for this competitive moments, aside from the 2003 Championship game mentioned above, two other games, again both vs. Orchard Park, come to mind. The first was a 1999 playoff game where Orchard Park was riding a huge winning streak and was an overwhelming favorite to win the Section Title. Our team went down there in a true David-and-Goliath match-up and played their hearts out en route to a 1-point upset of the Quakers. The second was the season opener in 2009. Orchard Park was coming off of a New York State Championship in 2008, and we had the honor of playing them in week 1 of the subsequent season. The game was back and forth all night, and ended up with Orchard Park winning in overtime. However, the never-quit attitude on the part of both teams made it one of the greatest High School football games I have ever seen.
What is your role as an assistant coach?
This is an interesting question because it's changing this year. For the past five years, I have served as the Offensive Coordinator on staff. However, as a fairly new father, with two children under the age of two at home, I have found it necessary to redefine my role on the staff and in the program. This year, I have decided to work as a volunteer assistant, helping with coordinating our scouting program, assisting in formulating the weekly offensive game plan, and helping out on the offensive sie of the ball where ever I'm needed and available. I'll certainly miss the role of coordinator, but not as much as I'd miss being there more regularly to see my own two kids grow up and develop.
What were the best teams you ever coached?
The last two teams at South have been the best teams in my 14 year career. I have coached some unbelieveable individuals, but never experienced a team like I have those last two seasons. I have also coached teams with better all-around talent, but those teams weren't able to come together and put aside differences like the 2010 and 2011 Billies.
What were your most proud or memorable moments playing football?
I was never a true standout as a player. As a result, I truly relished every snap I was given the opportunity to participate both in practices and games. During my senior year in the fall of 1992, we won a hard-fought game against West Seneca East 9-6. All of our points were scored off of big plays made on special teams. Our first score, a field goal, came off of a sack I got on the Trojan punter while rushing off of the edge. Our second score, a touchdown, was set up by a punt that I blocked, rushing from the same spot. My dad was, and still is, a tireless worker in our family business. When I was playing, it was hard for him to make it to any of our road games because of work. However, he listened to the radio broadcasts of all of our games. That particular game, I was named "player of the game" based upon those two special teams plays. He was waiting for the bus when it arrived back at Lockport High School, and was the first person I saw when I got off.
Who was your mentor?
Professionally: Greg Bronson and Mike Finn; Personally: My father, Dominic Scapelliti.
How many years have you coached football?
I recently completed my 15th season.