Back in 2008, during the dawn of his most impressive season at Iona Prep, Vic Quirolo decided it would be his last year as the football coach. He had done the unusual for six years, juggling the football and basketball jobs at a regional powerhouse, and the act had grown unwieldy.
“That was never the plan to go this long,” Quirolo said. “It’s just too much. It was always too much.”
After a perfect season and a memorable championship that 2008 season, Quirolo’s family implored him to continue. He lasted seven more years before finally following through on his initial plan. The 49-year old announced Thursday that he stepped down from his football post after 13 seasons.
Quirolo joined the program as an assistant in 1988. He had served in one role or another ever since and has been the varsity basketball coach from 1998 to the present.
“There’s a part of me that feels apprehensive,” said Quirolo, who will remain as Iona Prep’s basketball coach. “There’s an unknown where you don’t know if you made the right decision. But at the end of the day, I do feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
The Gaels finished 2015 a disappointing 2-7 following an appearance in the CHSFL AAA championship game the previous year. Quirolo said the lack of success had “not one bit” of impact on his decision.
“It’s almost become year-round now and it’s demanding,” he said. “It was time. It’s time and energy. It was always too much and was just a matter of when.”
Quirolo confided in his family in recent weeks and said he wrestled with the decision. He set a self-imposed deadline of Tuesday night when the school held its annual fall sports awards dinner.
Quirolo told athletic director Bernie Mahoney of the decision on Wednesday. He said he chose basketball over football because it was the less demanding of the two sports.
He said, “I read a book over the summer called ‘Less is More,’ ” which stresses the idea of embracing simplicity. “I love both of them, but football is more demanding and I just thought, ‘less is more,’ so I went with basketball.”
During Quirolo’s tenure as the football coach, Iona Prep advanced to four CHSFL AAA championship games. The Gaels won their first league title in 41 years in 2008 when they finished 12-0 and ended St. Anthony’s seven-year reign with a 48-35 win in the final.
The basketball team advanced to the CHSAA AA semifinals and won the first Archdiocesan championship in program history last season. Iona Prep began its season with a victory over St. Francis Prep on Nov. 27 and is scheduled to host Christ the King on Friday night at 7:30.