2002-11-09 / Sports

McGuire Foundation Honors Coaching Excellence

By Elio Velez

By Elio Velez

The Frank McGuire foundation, in it’s fourth year of honoring high school coaches who helped shape people to become productive members of society had their annual dinner last Thursday night.

The dinner, which involves people not only from high schools, but from the college and professional ranks in sports and in business honors the people who the McGuire Foundation believes "exemplify integrity, achievement and a persistent, continual quest for excellence from themselves and their student athletes."

The latest honorees are: Vito Montelli-basketball-St. Joseph HS, Trumbull, CT; Dr. Anthony Purpura-swimming-Notre Dame Academy, Staten Island, NY; Gene Chyzowych-soccer-Columbia HS, Maplewood, NJ; Andy Capellan-track & field-New Rochelle HS, New Rochelle, NY; Charles Bentley-basketball-Warren Harding HS, Bridgeport, CT; Joe Vito-football-Roosevelt HS, Roosevelt, NY.

Joe Vito is one example of a person who is committed to teaching his students in all facets of life. The head coach of the football team at Roosevelt, Vito has continued his dedication even as times became rough. As the school was taken over by New York State in 1996, there was no money available for the football department. Out of his own pocket, Coach Vito washed uniforms, bought and repaired uniforms and still led his teams to championships.

Vito won the 1997, 99 and 2000 Nassau County Championship and the Long Island Championship in 99 and 2000. In the past five years, his record is at 44-21 and 2 and the 99 and 2000 teams were a combined record of 2002. He has been honored by various publications as coach of the year, serves as a volunteer PAL coach of 7 and 8 year olds and also has served as a volunteer fireman on the East Rockaway Volunteer Fire Department for the last 20 years.

Coach Andy Capellan of New Rochelle not only preaches excellence on the field but off the field as well. As the head coach of the Girls Track and Field team, most of his students have received athletic and academic scholarships to such schools as St. John’s, Columbia and Yale.

If students are not performing in the classroom, Capellan has no hesitation in not allowing them to compete in matches. For those who do well, Capellan will give the recommendations to institutions of higher learning. "My seniors are people who I can trust to be solid," Capellan says. I tell them when I recommend them to a college I will not lie to get them in."

Capellan is tough but he will listen to anyone who has a problem. Most students have said that at the end of their time on the team, Capellan has given them great praise in the areas they had to improve on and what strengths they already have. Since 1980, the track team has win 18 state championships in 48 events, team championships, league championships and have own every Invitational that the team has entered in the last 10 years.

The foundation is named after the late Frank McGuire, who was honored with awards such as coach of the year in three schools: St. John’s University, University of North Carolina and University of South Carolina. He coached for 41 years with 550 college wins and made the Nike, Madison Square Garden, South Carolina, St. John’s and Basketball Hall of Fame. The foundations is dedicated to a man who helped many young people throughout his life with his dedication and love for coaching. For more information, call 718-762-7444 or www.mcguirefoundation.org

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