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2010 Gridiron inductees- Very Impressive group !

Posted Monday, December 06, 2010 by Grid iron dinner


Donald D. DeMatteo - Stepinac Football Player, College football player Chadron State University, Legendary Yonkers Football Coach

Donald DeMatteo
Love, respect, harmony, honor, commitment, discipline and sacrifice. These were Donald DeMatteo’s most important ingredients for a family to live together in harmony: Not just his own family but his Gorton family of thirty years.

Donald DeMatteo was born and raised in Yonkers. He attended P.S. 23 and Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, graduating from Chadron State University in Nebraska. Don credited his parents, Cealia and Dominick, for many of his accomplishments. His father died in 1968. His wife, Donna, and his two sons, Donald and Dan, are all teachers in the Yonkers Public School system.

Don began his career as a teacher, mentor and coach in Yonkers. He joined the Yonkers Public School system in 1971 as a Physical Education teacher at P.S. 6, and as an assistant football coach at Gorton High School. In 1972, Don joined the Gorton family full time and became Head football coach in 1976. He remained in that position until his death in 1999.

Coach “D” devoted three decades to the students of Yonkers as a dedicated teacher and as an outstanding coach. In both roles he provided guidance and inspiration to all of his students. He tried to prepare these young people to live a positive and productive life in a world that is as competitive off the field as it is on. As a coach he instilled the important family ingredients into his football family. With these ideals in mind the Gorton football program always achieved success and the ever-present respectability, which was evident in Gorton’s teams. His teams recorded 120 wins, 80 losses and 6 ties. Coach “D’s” teams played the way he coached and lived his life: smart, poised and confident.

Don DeMatteo loved his students and demonstrated that affection by teaching the skills and discipline of football. More importantly however, Don enlightened his players with life lessons about courage and survival. He taught them how to convert “blocks” in life into touchdowns, and how life’s hurdles served to strengthen all. Coach D’s” office became a safe haven where his family of students would gather for comfort, guidance, encouragement or even a meal. He united families that laughed together and cried together. He allowed his students to see that a display of emotion brought truth to a man’s soul.

During his lengthy career in Yonkers, Donald D. DeMatteo was deservedly the recipient of many awards, honors, and gifts commemorating his brilliant career as an all-star football coach. These included induction into the Stepanac Hall of Fame in 2000, the naming of the Tony and Don DeMatteo Parkway in 2000, an Honoree of the Frank McGuire Foundation in 1999, as well as five Sectional Titles, City Championships, and Coach of the Year awards. His greatest contribution to all that knew him was not his outstanding winning record, but the love, dedication and compassion he had for others.

Don’s legacy is the great number of young men and women whose lives he touched over the course of his life. His legacy will live on as an inspiration in the hearts of young people, challenging them to make a difference. Coach “D” made a difference.


Rob Ianello
Position: Head Coach
Alma Mater: The Catholic University of America, 1987
Experience: 1st Year
Ianello Photos
Head Coach Rob Ianello bio
Courtesy: Akron Media Relations
Release: 12/10/2009

Rob Ianello, former assistant coach and interim head coach at Notre Dame, was named The University of Akron's 26th head football coach - but just the sixth since 1960, on Dec. 10, 2009 by UA president Dr. Luis Proenza and athletics director Tom Wistrcill at the Towpath Credit Union Press Level at InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field.

"We were extremely excited to name Rob Ianello as our new head football coach," Wistrcill said. "Rob's experience with some of the top programs in the country, coupled with his recruiting prowess, made him stand out among a great group of candidates. He demonstrated to us a clear plan on how to build a complete championship program - one that has been successfully tested at other University's around the country - and we are excited to help him execute that plan. He will be a great leader for the young men on our football team and a great part of the Akron community."

Promoted to assistant head coach for offense in January 2009, Ianello led Notre Dame's offensive staff meetings when head coach Charlie Weis was not present, while retaining his role as wide receivers coach. Most recently, Ianello served as interim head football coach for the Fighting Irish.

"First I want to thank Dr. Proenza, Tom (Wistrcill) and the Akron community for this opportunity," Ianello said. "My family and I are thrilled to be at Akron and excited about the opportunity to lead this program. My life-long dream has been to run a football program at the highest level and there is no place better to begin that journey than right now at The University of Akron. The future is very bright for the Zips football program.

In 2009 at Notre Dame, the Irish featured one of the nation's best quarterback-wide receiver tandems and one of the best in the tradition-rich history of Notre Dame. Signal caller Jimmy Clausen ranked second in the country in pass efficiency and eighth in total offense (302.25 avg.). He completed 289-of-425 passes - with his completion percentage of .680 being a school record. He additionally threw for 3,722 yards (second-most in Notre Dame history) and 28 touchdowns with just four interceptions.

Clausen's top target was Golden Tate. He had a school-record 93 receptions in 2009, with his 7.75 receptions per game ranking seventh in the NCAA, and tallied a school-record 1,496 yards, with is 124.67 ypg ranking third nationally. Tate finished sixth in the nation in scoring (9.0 ppg) thanks to his 15 receiving TDs, two rushing TDs and a punt return for a score.

Both Clausen and Tate were semifinalists for the 2009 Maxwell Award, presented annually to college's best football player. Tate additionally was named first team All-American and was recipient of the 2009 Biletnikoff Award, which is presented to the nation's top collegiate wide receiver.

Notre Dame's 2009 offense ranked sixth nationally in passing offense (323.50 ypg) and ninth in total offense (451.75 ypg).

A member of the Irish coaching staff since 2005, he has coached six of the most prolific receiving seasons in Notre Dame history as well as coordinated four-straight top 15 recruiting classes.

As the recruiting coordinator for the Irish, he directed three consecutive top 10 recruiting classes from 2006-08, something only three other schools (USC, Florida and Georgia) could claim. He is also the only coach named one of the 25-best recruiters in the country from 2005-09 by Rivals.com. In the book "The Second Season" by recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, Ianello is named one of the top 10 recruiters of the last 30 years.

Under his guidance, six of the nine best individual receiving seasons in Notre Dame history have occurred. In the past five seasons, four Irish receivers have caught more than 60 passes in a season, while five players have eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards.

Notre Dame's records for most receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior have all been recorded under his watch. He has played a crucial role in helping the Irish record the three-most prolific passing seasons in school history.

In 2008, Tate and Michael Floyd rewrote the record book for freshman and sophomore receivers at Notre Dame. Tate tallied 58 receptions for 1,080 yards and 10 TDs while Floyd registered 48 catches for 719 yards and seven TDs. Notre Dame underclassmen combined to make 18 starts in 2007 and caught 88 passes for 1.021 yards and six TDs. Duval Kamara set freshman records (broken in '08 by Floyd) for receptions and receiving yards in a season.

Jeff Samardzija, Maurice Stovall and Rhema McKnight captivated Irish fans in 2005-06. Samardzija set school records with 1,249 receiving yards and 15 TDs in '05 and 77 receptions in '06. His 179 career catches for 2,593 yards and 27 TDs are Irish records.

Stovall caught 69 passes for 1,149 yards and 11 TDs in '05, the second-most receiving yards in a single season in school history. McKnight tied Samardzija's school record with 15 receiving TDs in '06 and the two combined to lead the nation with 27 receiving TDs.

He coached at Wisconsin for two years prior to joining Notre Dame and helped lead the Badgers to the 2003 Music City Bowl and 2005 Outback Bowl. While there, Ianello helped develop Owen Daniels from a recruited quarterback into a tight end. Daniels is now one of the top receiving tight ends in the NFL.

Ianello served as recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach at Arizona and helped develop Bobby Wade and Dennis Northcutt. Wade led the Pacific-10 Conference with 93 receptions for 1,389 yards and eight TDs in 2002, while Northcutt caught 88 passes in 1999. Also in 1999, he was named one of the top 10 recruiters in the nation by ESPN.com and one of the top six recruiters nationally by Sporting News. The previous year with the Wildcats, he helped Arizona's 1998 squad to a 12-1 record and number four national ranking.

He was elected to the board of trustees of the American Football Coaches Association in January 2003. The board formulates policy and provides direction for the AFCA. Ianello also chairs the AFCA's assistant coaches committee and is the general chairman of the AFCA's all-division assistant coaches committee.

Ianello was born Nov. 4, 1965, he is a native of Port Chester, N.Y., graduate of Archbishop Stepinac HS , White Plains ,NY and is a 1987 graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. with a bachelor's degree in English. He and his wife, the former Denise Dove, have one son, Zachary, and two daughters, Ashley and Courtney. Denise is a former assistant women's basketball coach at Arizona and Wisconsin and is now a scout in the WNBA.


"I was delighted to hear Akron's choice of Rob Ianello as the next head football coach. Rob is ready to go (as a head coach). He was a loyal and trusted assistant for the University of Notre Dame for the past five years. He has the reputation as one of the best recruiters in the country, while his positions players have played at the highest of levels. I am happy both for the University of Akron and the Ianello family. This is a win-win situation."

Charlie Weis

Former Notre Dame Head Football Coach

"I am thrilled for Rob. I think he will do an exceptional job. I know Akron has made a tremendous commitment to be at the forefront of football in the Mid-American Conference and nothing illustrates that commitment more than hiring Rob Ianello, who is one of the top people available in college football. I am very excited for Rob and excited for Akron. I know he will do a fantastic job. He will bring tremendous energy to the program and expertise to the job."

Dick Tomey

San Jose State Head Football Coach

2009 President of the American Football Coaches Association

"I have known Rob since he was a graduate assistant at Alabama. He is absolutely one of the best recruiters in the country. Each year, we name the best recruiters, he won two years ago (2007) and he is always listed as one of the best. He is one of the few recruiters to land five consensus All-Americans in one season. As a recruiter, he is a bulldog, relentless and a great organizer. I cannot say enough good things about him. (Akron) will see some big-time recruits coming there. Rob is a great guy to have as your head coach."

Tom Lemming

Recruiting Analyst

The Lemming Report/CBS College Sports


Ianello's Coaching Experience:

1987 Alabama Graduate Assistant
1988-89 Alabama Assistant Recruiting Coordinator
1990-91 Wisconsin On-Campus Recruiting Coordinator
1992-93 Wisconsin Recruiting Coordinator
1994-96 Arizona Recruiting Coordinator
1997-2002 Arizona Wide Receivers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
2003 Wisconsin Tight Ends Coach
2004 Wisconsin Tight Ends Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
2005-08 Notre Dame     Wide Receivers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
2009 Notre Dame Assistant Head Coach (Offense)/Recruiting Coordinator/Interim Head Coach
Dec. 10, 2009-pres.     Akron Head Coach


M-W's Connolly fills critical role

Defensive coordinator is D'Aliso's right-hand man
Monroe-Woodbury assistant coach Bernie Connolly, second from right.Times Herald-Record/TOM BUSHEY
By Kevin Witt

Times Herald-Record

It was set up to be one heck of a dramatic moment, just like the end of a good movie.

Monroe-Woodbury had just advanced to the state Class AA football title game by beating New Rochelle 10-8 on Saturday night with a game-ending, near goal-line stop. It capped off what could have been Monroe-Woodbury's best defensive game in the last two years.

Coach Pat D'Aliso worked his way through the crowd of spectators and players on the Dietz Stadium turf and found Bernie Connolly, his longtime assistant/defensive coordinator/right-hand man.

Here's how D'Aliso tells it:

D'Aliso: "Bernie, I have no words to explain how I feel about you."

Connolly: "Don't talk to me. Don't say a word to me."

So much for rolling the credits as the soft music plays.

"He knew what was going to happen," D'Aliso said earlier this week.

It would have been another emotional moment between two guys who have had plenty together since 1988. There's been plenty of winning. Even some losing, and heartbreak nobody should ever have to endure.

Watch them on the sidelines during a game. D'Aliso, wrapped in his hooded sweatshirt, is one missed assignment away from a minor explosion. Connolly has the more-tailored look, almost always wearing a matching something, and is barely audible from 10 feet away.

Yet both are obsessed with winning, or at the very least, putting themselves and their teams in the best position to be successful.

"They're the same person, even though they're different," said Connolly's son, Michael, a Monroe-Woodbury assistant the last two years. "They're always on the same page. Every day is a lunch-box day. You're not going to find two guys who work harder, and that's why they are the perfect fit."

D'Aliso became head coach in 1988, and brought in Connolly — who he barely knew — as an assistant to run the offense because D'Aliso wanted to run the Wing-T offense. Connolly was a head coach at Stepinac, right smack in the middle of Wing-T country.

When Monroe-Woodbury switched to the triple option in 1997, Joe Puliafico Sr. took over the offense, because he had experience with it. Connolly joked that D'Aliso fired him when he moved him to defensive coordinator, but if there ever was a perfect job for a guy, this was Connolly's.

Connolly always knew he would be a football coach. He was a defensive back in high school, but also the backup linebacker, quarterback, fullback, tailback, tight end and split end.

"I knew everybody's job," said Connolly, who also played at UConn and Manhattan. "If there was a problem, I might not have known everybody's blocking rules, but I could tell every kid who to block."

He and D'Aliso hit it off almost immediately. As Connolly tells it, both of their wives are the same age, and were the youngest of three daughters. Their kids were the same age. They also were close in age. Connolly is 52. D'Aliso is 54. For the longest time, they lived two miles apart.

D'Aliso praised Connolly for his ability to see things "quickly and clearly, and adjust." D'Aliso said he spends about two days writing out his offensive game plans. Connolly, he said, takes an hour.

"He's kind of like your guardian angel," D'Aliso said. "When you're going off the path, he sees what's going on. We'll fight about it. But I know he's right most of the time."

After Monroe-Woodbury's defense got torched by West Genesee's passing game in the 2007 state final, Connolly changed schemes. The Crusaders now use four linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs — adding a guy in the secondary and taking away a linebacker.

"He broke it down for each of us," said linebacker James Boyd. "We took it very slowly, actually. Individually, we spent a pretty incredible amount of time together."

Connolly figured Boyd would be "a very good player" this year, but he's been "absolutely great."

"He never misses a read and never is in the wrong spot," Connolly said. "People think that when you tell a kid something, you're coaching them. I honestly believe coaching is teaching. If they don't know it, or they don't get it or they're not doing it, that's my fault. Maybe I'm asking them to do something they can't do, or he's not understanding it."

Four decades of football prepared Connolly for the Xs and Os, but nothing could have prepared him for when D'Aliso's son, Patrick, died in 2004 at age 16. But Connolly played such a big part as coach D'Aliso's friend, D'Aliso credits him for Monroe-Woodbury's success.

"If Bernie didn't handle me since when I lost Patrick, I wouldn't be coaching," D'Aliso said. "I was going to leave. I was going to step away, trying to handle everything. He took the brunt of everything. He took the problems. He took the tears. He took the out-of-control rage. He never said a word about it, but he was there every second."

D'Aliso said Connolly showed up with tapes one day on this offense Urban Meyer was running in college known as the spread.

"Bernie said, 'Why don't look at these tapes to take your mind off your personal life,'" D'Aliso said. "I was close to giving everything up. It was awful. But he's been like a brother, a confidante, a friend. I brought him in in 1988, because I saw he was an exceptional coach. He turned out to be an exceptional human being."


The Connolly family has  given NY State HS football some of the best football minds around. Bernie, Timmy & Brian Connolly have all been successful head football coaches in our area. Changing many young peoples lifes & winning football games.
Brian will go down as one of the best HS coaches Westchester has ever seen.  He started his coaching in the late 70's as JV coach at Stepinac. Brian took Head coaching job at Xavier HS .  Connolly then  made a short stop back at Stepinac in 1986 & 87 & was a  varsity asst while his brother Bernie was the head coach of Crusaders. Brian took over the Edgemont Panthers in 1989.  Brian won three NY State championships & was named NY State coach of the year. Westchchester County coach of the year numerous times. Connolly coached edgemont for 22 years . He has most wins in Edgemont history.  He is a very hard working coach, who always puts his kids in the best position to win the game. Brian has coached many great players who have been recruited & have gone on to great places in the business & sports world. Matt Berstein  played for Wisconsin &  for the Detriot Lions in the NFL.  Brian also coached baseball at Stepinac, Ardsley & Edgemont & won many titles in those sports as well. If you have a question about coaching sports, there a very good chance that Brian could give you the correct answer. Brian knows his stuff !
Brian has always been a great friend to Stepinac & continues to  support & help our coaches  & players.

  • Brian Connolly won his 100th game as coach at Edgemont High School yesterday when the Panthers defeated previously unbeaten Eastchester, 43-23. "It's more of a relief," Connolly said of the milestone. "I never really thought about it that much, but they've been making a big deal of it up here. " Under Connolly, the Panthers (3-0) have won nine Westchester bowl games. They won three consecutive Class C state championships .

Brendan Nugent:
Player, Played at Catholic univ, Asst coach at Stepinac, Asst coach at Iowa, Asst coach at William & Mary
One of the staff’s hardest working and brightest young coaching minds, Brendan Nugent has also proven to be one the program’s most versatile. In taking over responsibility for the team’s running backs, Nugent will be overseeing his third position group in his four seasons on campus.

Despite being on campus for a relatively short time, he has helped develop some outstanding talent. In his first year (2007), he helped groom NFL free agent and all-american TE, Drew Atchison. During the 2008 campaign, Nugent worked with the team’s wide outs and mentored D.J. McAulay to All-CAA recognition, while this past season, he helped Rob Varno earn second-team all-conference honors at tight end.

Nugent was exposed to the collegiate coaching game by working as the offensive undergraduate assistant on Kirk Ferentz’s staff at the University of Iowa during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. In this position, Nugent worked directly with Iowa offensive coordinator, Ken O’Keefe, assisting him with day-to-day and game day operations.

Aside from his on-field work with Iowa’s offense and the defensive scout teams, some of his additional responsibilities included playbook and opponent scouting preparation and extensive work with editing instructional footage on the team’s XOS Sagio Video System.

His first job in the coaching ranks came at Archbishop Stepinac High School in his hometown of White Plains, N.Y., where he served as the Crusaders’ linebacker coach for the 2004 season.

As a player, Nugent lettered three seasons at linebacker at Catholic University of America. He went onto earn his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Iowa in December of 2006.

Nugent is single and resides in Williamsburg.

1973 Varsity Football team     7-2
Coach Bruce Henry

First Stepinac Team to ever win 7 games.
Story will follow

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