There is very little, if anything, with Rush-Henrietta high school football that needs to be fixed, according to Jason Collins.
The viewpoint of Collins comes after working the last seven seasons on the Rush-Henrietta Royal Comets coaching staff, led by Joe Montesano.
“We’ve had a lot of success,'” Collins said. “Even before I came, I believe that they won a Section V title.
“We’ve had a lot of success, kids doing great things in the classroom and on the football field, and going on to some pretty big schools. It’s a hard-working staff. We all share the common goal and vision.”
Collins’ viewpoint will change somewhat as the new varsity football coach at Rush-Henrietta. The 36-year old Greece Olympia graduate replaced Montesano, who said in January that he would step out of the position after 11 seasons.
“I think it’s a great person to follow,” Collins said. “I’ve been a a part of something successful. He showed us the right way to do things and how to treat people. There is his work ethic.
“Everything he is, has rubbed off on all of us.”
Collins has coached quarterbacks and outside linebackers at Rush-Henrietta, and obviously, provided input in the Rush-Henrietta passing game. He was one of the coaches on the headset with Montesano during games. The entire varsity coaching staff should be back in the fall, except for Montesano, according to Collins.
“He has a really good football mind,” Montesano said. “He knows the kids and the goals of the program, and now he’ll be able to put his own stamp on it.
“One thing I think he’ll be outstanding at, is that he’s a very people-person. The kids really get attached to him.”
This is Collins’ first head coaching position. His background includes time on the Olympia staff after playing at NCAA Division I-AA Iona College. Collins also coached quarterbacks on the Rochester Raiders indoor professional football for three seasons.
“He was dedicated, wanted to learn,” Bishop Kearney football coach and former Raiders coach Eddie Long said. “He actually reached out to me, he volunteered. When I seen what he could do, I decided to bring him on as a full-staff member.
“He’s a great fit. I think he’ll be able keep it going. He may open up (R-H’s offense) a little.”
Montesano, 40, stepped away with a coaching record of 74 wins, 34 losses, the 2010 Class AA state championship and three Section V titles. The Royal Comets lost to eventual state champion Aquinas in the 2015 Class AA sectional final, after they knocked off two undefeated teams in the playoffs.
“Personally, for me, I have a lot going on with my whole family,” Montesano said. “Being a head coach just didn’t fit for me.
“There’s a way you have to do it, and in my gut, I didn’t feel I could do it that way. When you are the coach at a big school, it takes up a lot of time. I have other things going on with my family that I want to be around.”
Montesano was happy to see the Rush-Henrietta Central School District replace him with someone on the team’s coaching staff, and that Collins is a very loyal person who has paid dues.
“It’s going to be a great transition,” Montesano said. “He’s a R-H guy.”