Assistant coaches fuel Staples football

Assistant coaches Jesse McCray and Jack McFarland watch as Staples takes on Westhill at homecoming

Trevor Rivkin

Assistant coaches Jesse McCray and Jack McFarland watch as Staples takes on Westhill at homecoming

Anders Hovstadius, Staff Writer

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Marce Petroccio, better known as Coach P among Staples Students, has led the Wreckers football team to many wins; however, he may not have been able to win all these years without the help of Staples’ incredible assistant coaches.  Despite being relatively unknown as football coaches, these men have contributed to both the Wreckers, and the game of football for many years.

Line coach Jesse McCray, who stands over six feet tall, has coached football and track for 27 years. McCray played football at Western Connecticut State University during Petroccio’s tenure as an assistant coach there.

As a defensive linemen at Western Connecticut University McCray won the Brian Blanchard Award for Academic and Athletic Excellence.

McCray later assumed the position assistant coach at Danbury High School, where he helped the football and boys’ track team win an FCIAC title. The titles do not end there. Twice McCray was named the Connecticut Post Coach of the Year as well the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Girls Connecticut track and field coach of the year.

McCray accounts his success to a philosophy he holds. “You have to really love what you do because there is a lot of sacrifice involved and for an athlete or coach there is a price to pay for success,” McCray said.

Through his years of coaching he feels that he has grown close bonds to his fellow coaches. “I’ve known Coach P since I was 18, Coach McFarland for over 20 years. We’ve seen [each others’] kids born, [and]  been to weddings. It is like an extended family,” said McCray.

While McCray has excelled in track and field, secondary and receivers coach Jack McFarland has received numerous accomplishments on the baseball diamond for the Wreckers.

McFarland returns for his 17th year with the Wreckers, after leading the varsity Baseball Team to the FCIAC championship game three times within his first four years.

With his time coaching Wrecker’s baseball, his program has had several players earn All-State recognition.

Coach McFarland has also been an assistant coach for the Staples football program since 1995. In 2004 he was named the Assistant Coach of the Year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association.

McFarland preaches an important value to his players.  “Take pride in your sport/skill-set and also pride in your school/community,” he said.

Staples alumni Mac Devito was the starting quarterback for the 1997 FCIAC championship team. As a collegiate athlete Devito played for the Temple University Owls from 1998 to 2001 and was voted captain during his senior year.

After coaching for several teams in the North East, Devito returned to the Wreckers in 2008 to become the quarterback coach, secondary coach and passing game coordinator.

Despite each of their achievements separately, these coaches have all come together to help lead Wreckers football.

“ They are all very important to our success and help us a lot. We have one of the best coaching staffs in the state, personally [speaking], and they all bring a great vibe to the team,” punter and wide receiver Ryan Fitton ’17 said.

Petroccio concluded by describing his coaching staff. “It’s like one big Italian family.”

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