BRISTOL – The St. Paul football team remained close to home to find its new football coach as the school announced Joe Cianciolo as the man in charge of the Falcons’ sideline going forward.
An assistant coach under previous coaches Jude Kelly and Chris Kennedy, Cianciolo’s familiarity should ease the adjustment process as he prepares to lead St. Paul in its first football season in two years. Cianciolo first joined St. Paul in 2015 as the schools strength and conditioning coach in addition to being an assistant on the football staff. He added the role of health and physical education teacher at the school in 2018 in a full-time role and will now be at the head of the Falcon’s coaching staff under the lights on Friday nights.
“Any time you take over for someone who has such a strong presence like Coach Kennedy, he’s been on campus for the better part of 20 years, as well as taking over and following a legend like Coach Kelly, I had the pleasure and honor of working under them and with them for the last six years and I hope to build on the successes and build the program forward and move it in a positive step,” Cianciolo said. “It’s an exciting time and I couldn’t be more appreciative and excited for the opportunity and [I am] just ready to work.
Cianciolo played on the offensive line at Springfield College for four years and earned first-team all-America honors as a senior in 2015 from USA College Football. He said working with the established and experienced coaches before him taught him the importance of making decisions with the big picture in mind and to measure his emotions to avoid making short-term decisions that could have negative implications later down the road.
“The most exciting part is being the head coach is taking more responsibility and play and even stronger part in the [student-athlete’s] lives,” Cianciolo said. “You have a chance to model what you’re talking about. As an assistant, you’re helping transmit the message of the head coach and what they want to portray. As the head coach, you’re more in control, you have the added pressure and things fall on you and I look forward to that. I look forward to having that pressure and I look forward to modeling, to do the right thing for my players and the students that I have.”
Cianciolo added he is looking forward to the St. Paul students seeing him in new lights outside of his work as a teacher and strength coach. He wants to “show off his football acumen” and there is more to him than what the St. Paul student body has already seen from him.
“We are going to give relentless effort and positive energy with everything we do,” Cianciolo said. “We’re going to focus on giving the best effort in what we do, whether it be in the classroom or on the practice field, in film sessions and we’re going to have a positive and relentless effort and energy.”
Cianciolo will be assisted on his staff by defensive coordinator Mike Guys, who has been on the St. Paul bench since 2017 and has nearly 50 years of football coaching experience. His offensive coordinator will be Ollie Gray III, who joins the team after four years at Naugatuck. Bruce Cianciolo and Anthony Mazzarella complete the group as assistant coaches.
“Having a productive fall season will allow the 2021 football team to be prepared and ready for the road ahead,” Athletic Director Dave Dennehy said. “I am excited to welcome our new head football coach as well as other new members of the staff along with our returning coaches and am looking forward to getting back on McPhee Field and for some Friday night football.”