Dennis DiSanto called it the hardest decision he has ever had to make. It was a call that would affect two highly-established Section 1 wrestling programs.
DiSanto, after much thought, recently stepped down as the Somers varsity wrestling coach and accepted the Mahopac varsity wrestling job. DiSanto, who is a guidance counselor at Mahopac High School, leaves after 27 years at his alma mater.
The veteran coach finished with a record of 295-113 at Somers. During his tenure, he has had 18 Section 1 champions, 34 finalists, four state finalists and a two-time state champ in Brian Realbuto.
Ive worked at Mahopac for 26 years and I coached at Somers, which, ironically, was only eight miles away and I live between the two schools, he said. I went back and forth on it for three days. It breaks my heart to leave Somers, but I felt if I didnt take it now, I thought it would never happen.
DiSanto said he is hoping to coach at least another six to seven years and he felt that it would be advantageous to do so in the school where he worked.
I could not see myself at 60 running between two schools, said DiSanto, who will turn 55 this year.
Coaches often point out the difficulty of coaching a varsity sport when not working in the school. DiSanto was able to balance that for 27 years, but now looks forward seeing his student--athletes in school.
It has already made things much easier, said DiSanto, who has been the guidance counselor to many former and current Mahopac wrestlers. Ive been able to get a lot done in a short time period from meeting with the wrestlers to discussing summer camps with them. The Mahopac school district has been very good to me and supportive of me while I was coaching at Somers.
Though DiSanto is starting a new chapter in his coaching career, he will always have fond memories of Somers.
I was very lucky and blessed to have been at Somers, DiSanto said. I was able to build a program that I loved and I have been friendships and relationships that will go on for many years.
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