SOMERS, N.Y. Severino Sangro has had an interesting two months, to say the least.
The 30-year-old joined the staff of the Kennedy Catholic High School football team in June as a defensive coordinator. But when head coach Rob Schwartz left to become a guidance counselor in the Mamaroneck school district, Sangro took over his job.
The rise to the top was improbable even to Sangro.
I dont think I would have (believed it), Sangro said. I never would have dreamt that, no.
The graduate of Hendrick Hudson High School led the Gaels in their first day of defensive drills on Thursday. The team opened practice on Aug. 17, and Sangro decided that a new regime meant getting back to basics.
Kennedy Catholic practiced offensive fundamentals for the first several days and finally moved on to tackling drills on Thursday.
Its been going very slow because we want the kids to get down to techniques, Sangro said. Before we go to scheme or anything like that, theyve got to know how to block, theyve got to know how to tackle.
Despite the slow pace, the new coach said the transition has been smooth so far.
The kids are real receptive to what were doing, Sangro said. Its a lot different from what they did last year. But certain things have to be changed. Its a new regime so when you get changes like that, a lot of things are different. Theyre not really used to it yet, but theyve been coming along nicely. And I havent gotten any complaints from them yet.
Senior running back Robert Yurkowski must adjust to Sangros new system in his final year at Kennedy Catholic. But the tailback said returning to the basics is a blessing despite having played for three years already.
You perfect everything that you need to, Yurkowski said. Its real good because were all doing the work we need to.
Yurkowski is confident that the Gaels will be ready to go once the season begins, even with the new coach and new playbook.
I think all around, were pretty good, Yurkowski said.