St. John Vianney names Mark Ciccotelli new head football coach

St. John Vianney names Mark Ciccotelli new head football coach


St. John Vianney names Mark Ciccotelli new head football coach


Mark Ciccotelli, who coached Freehold and Neptune high schools to a combined three sectional football championships in the last six seasons, has been hired as St. John Vianney’s head coach, the school announced in a press release on its Web site Friday afternoon.

Ciccotelli replaces Andy Carlstrom, who resigned as coach in mid-January after three seasons. St. John Vianney went 4-6 last season and 15-15 overall under Carlstrom with a berth in the NJSIAA Non-Public Group III playoffs in 2012, when it went 6-4 for its first winning campaign and postseason appearance since 2006.

“I am happy to be coming on board and I’m looking forward to working with the players,” Ciccotelli said in the release. “The obvious goal is to lead the team to win a conference title and a state championship, but my main focus is to have our players reach their full potential as a student-athlete and play to the best of their ability. I have always liked St. John’s and I’m happy to share in their Catholic tradition.

“I’m very excited to have coach Ciccotelli here. I think he’s a great fit for our program and for our SJV family,” St. John Vianney athletic director Rich Lamberson said in the release.

Ciccotelli said the change will benefit him on two fronts.

“It’s the best thing for my family at this time,” he said, “and it’s what’s best for me professionally. I have always been intrigued by what St. John Vianney can offer a student-athlete. I think we can do some special things there.”

Ciccotelli, 49, said he is impressed with the Lancers’ talent.

“I have seen them on film and have watched them over the years,” he said. “I think they have some good kids. There are a lot of positives about being there. I want to win football games. I want the boys to be student-athletes. I want them to get the most out of their ability academically and from a football standpoint. I want them to work to be the best they can be.”

Ciccotelli said he has met several Lancers.

“They seem to be somewhat excited,” he said, “but I don’t know if you can judge anyone by meeting with them one time. That’s unfair to them and me. You say ‘Hello,’ and look at them. Until you start working together, you don’t really know.”

Ciccotelli was Freehold’s coach from 2004-10. The Colonals won the NJSIAA Central Group III championships in 2008 and 2010. Those were the school’s first sectional championships.

He became Neptune’s coach in 2011. The Scarlet Fliers went 11-1 that season and won the Central Group III championship for their first sectional championship since 1998.

Neptune lost in the Central III final to Hamilton North in 2012 and went 5-5 last season.

“The kids at Neptune are special kids,” Ciccotelli said.

“We won championships together. I am proud of them. Their program is in good standing. They will return nine offensive starters this year. The cupboard is not bare. They are good kids. I will miss them. I wish them the best. What we did there will go down in history.”

More USA TODAY High School Sports