The Poughkeepsie City School District is nominating John Castellano as its next varsity head football coach, a man Boast of Education President Ralph Coates referred to as “a football legend.” Read more in Saturday’s Poughkeepsie Journal.
“We will have a proven head football coach in John Castellano who not only knows the game of football but knows what it takes for student athletes to be college and career ready,” Coates said.
The nomination was announced as part of an agenda released today for a Board of Education meeting to be held Monday at 6 p.m. The meeting is being held to approve all fall sports coaches, as well as handle other board business.
Castellano, 58, coached Nyack for 23 seasons, winning Class A state championships in 2000 and 2003. Nyack, under Castellano, defeated Poughkeepsie for the Section 1 Class A title in 2000.
On Castellano’s proposed staff is 2000 Poughkeepsie graduate and former NFL player Charles Spencer Jr. Spencer played two games for the Houston Texans in 2006 before suffering a career-ending leg injury in his second game for the Texans, who drafted him in the third round of the 2006 Draft (65th overall). In his playing days, Spencer, a four-year player at the University of Pittsburgh, was a two-time All-Big East lineman and was 6-foot-5 and 340 pounds. Spencer was a three-year starter at Poughkeepsie under then-coach Keith Thompson. After graduation, he played a season of prep football at Trinity-Pawling School.
Also on staff is Poughkeepsie graduate Matt Featherston, a Poughkeepsie graduate who played at Texas A&M University. Featherston was previously recommended as the head JV coach, but is listed as an assistant varsity coach. All three JV coaching positions are still to be announced.
Coates called the three, “an all-star coaching staff.”
“On and off the field, this is huge for not only our football program, but for our school district and our entire community,” he said.
Castellano takes over the reins from Ken Barger, who coached the team for seven seasons but students were told is presently serving a suspension pending an investigation into unauthorized accommodations that were given to some Poughkeepsie students for the New York State Regents exams in January.
Coates declined comment on Barger’s current status, but praised his time on the sidelines.
“Ken Barger brought a section championship to this community,” Coates said. “He and his staff need to be commended for the work he and his staff has done. We are grateful for the years Kenny brought to this program.”
Cameron initially recommended longtime Barger assistant Mike Bianco to the board, but Bianco and his proposed staff resigned July 17, the same day they were going to be up for approval by the board. The former staff, which included assistants Edward Coviello, Matt Urciuoli and Brian O’Connell, had run the team’s workouts to that point.
Over his 23 seasons at Nyack, where Castellano was a physical education teacher and served as the school’s athletic director, he had a record of 180-48-1 and won seven Section 1 titles. For the last two seasons, Castellano served as the defensive line coach at Don Bosco Prep, a national powerhouse in Ramsey, N.J. In his career, he also coached at Mamaroneck, Gorton, Roosevelt-Yonkers and Iona College.