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Fredonia coach will lead merged football team

April 7, 2016
Westfield Republican

FREDONIA?- The current head coach for the Fredonia Hillbillies football program will assume the same duties for next year's combined varsity program with Brocton and Westfield.

Fredonia Athletic Direc-tor Scot Stutzman reported at March 29's board of education meeting that officials from all three districts chose to appoint Mike Marshall to instruct the team. Stutzman delivered the news after acknowledging an "incredible" level of communication between the three districts in fielding the coaching staff.

"I've enjoyed working with the three schools," he remarked. "At this point, we had overall six positions that we needed to fill; they were all internal candidates being that we had six internal candidates, so we met all the contractual obligations for our districts. It wasn't too difficult and it was more or less trying to identify who had the experience that would relate best to a particular level."

The athletic directors and superintendents from the trio of schools met in Brocton earlier this month to hold interviews for the coaching slots, Stutzman explained, adding three candidates - one from each school - applied for the head post.

Marshall got the nod in a unanimous decision.

"From that point, we had Coach Marshall come in and meet with me and the other AD's and talk about the vision that he had and how each candidate, or internal candidate, would fit that particular coaching requirement," Stutzman said. "In other words, who had the experience with the offense, with the defense, special teams, etc."

Afterward, the athletic directors and Marshall fleshed out the coaching arrangement - three assistant coaches under Marshall. Fredonia offensive line coach Tim Wright, Westfield-Brocton head coach Frank Quagliana and Dan Martin, also involved with the Westfield-Brocton team, will back Marshall up.

Brocton varsity baseball coach Rob Fetterick will run the junior varsity side of the football program, with Fredonia varsity football assistant coach Bill Piper working with him.

The coaches will attend safety training seminars, both mandatory and optional, Stutzman mentioned.

On top of selecting the coaches, Stutzman said officials from Westfield, Brocton and Fredonia have been working to unify the three schools' concussion protocol.

"Because of the state requirements, our concussion protocols are pretty much the same," he pointed out. "We've got our eyes on them, we've looked them over ... (and) we have entertained a few things, which, of course, we'll have further discussion."

One of the areas being scrutinized is the return-to-play procedure. Stutzman explained ideas being punted around include requiring a specialist to provide the initial sign-off on the return to play after an injury is sustained.

In addition, protocol will likely include a point person for safety issues and a point person for academic eligibility.

"Those things will feed back through a hierarchy of people - primarily those that are at Brocton will talk to the AD's and they'll let the AD's all know if there's ever any type of issue, and that information will all filter back from, most likely, the Brocton AD, because that's where a majority of the practices will occur," Stutzman stated. "We feel as though that might be the best way to make sure information is passed to each AD and that information gets out to the district nurse at each school ..."

Stutzman reminded the board he would like to solidify a community meeting date so the three communities can mingle and become familiar with a combined program.

Superintendent Paul DiFonzo mentioned to board members they will see a more cohesive and comprehensive logistics sheet for the combined program in the near future. That includes delving deeper into the safety aspect of it all, he added.



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