In life as we know it, all things must come to an end at some point in time. People, jobs, even the materialistic things in life all have some form of a shelf life. In these moments you see change; things can become different than once before and can be either be for the better or for the worse depending on how you see it. The game of football itself has seen its fair share of coaching changes, people turning around programs all across the country from perennial doormats to perennial powerhouses. In the case of Montclair State football though, there has been one consistent piece that hasn’t changed in over three and a half decades. Montclair State University is the residing place of the most winningest coach in Division III football, Coach Rick Giancola.
Coach G, as referred to by his players, has been on the staff for over forty-three years, seven as an assistant coach and thirty-six years as the full time head coach of the Montclair State football team. In that time since he became head coach, America has seen its fine share of presidents, technology advances, and even cars that can parallel park themselves into a spot. But Coach G has lasted over four decades for the program, which is an impressive feat. Thirty-six years for anything within a football program is somewhat of an accomplishment, it shows consistency and hard work that was put in towards the program. The list of accomplishments acquired in thirty six years of a program can be lengthy, but the one thing that stands out is the fact that Coach G is the first man in and out the door during his time here at Montclair State University. When asked about how his career had gotten started here, Coach G spoke about his beginnings by saying, “I was an assistant here prior, I had started out as an assistant in 1976 on a part time basis, finished my school day and ran over here. And then in 1983, the head coach at that point, had left and took a job someplace else, and I was given the job of being the head coach, so that’s where the thirty six years starts from there, but there were seven more years that are included in that.”
Considering that Coach G has been part of the program for so long, and that he has seen tons of people come and go, personalities in players are different, and with this there is a learning curve on how to deal with these players. Interchangeable parts to a football team can create either a great team chemistry or create a divide for the team in general. When asked about how he has to deal with change, Coach G responded by saying that he believes that there isn’t a lot of change that needs to be done with his players, but how the coaches demonstrate practices. “I don’t think that there is a lot, but I do see a difference in the approach we have to take as coaches. No yelling, no screaming, no hollering, you have to be able to talk to them. Your age bracket is more about ‘why’? You’ll find that out when you go out and get a job and then there are demands that have to be made about what your position is and what you do, so we have learned that it’s better to say why first before you ask, now they know the answer. I think that’s the difference in today’s athlete they are a little bit more inquisitive in terms of why.” For the player aspect of the team, senior running back Willie Barr, who has been a part of this program since he was a freshman, has held a superstition before his games in which he usually eats a bag of candy before every game. “Before every game I usually eat a bag of candy.” When asked about if Coach G joins in on the superstitions or anything that the team does, he chuckles and replies with a “no he doesn’t.”
Being the man that Coach G is, leading this Montclair team for over three decades and being a staple within the Red Hawks, there has been something’s that he can teach over towards his other assistant coaches and coordinators that run the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. When asked about Coach G’s effect on him, Defensive Coordinator Todd Agresta, known as Coach A, replied by saying “He’s been great to me as a mentor and as someone I can talk to, he’s knowledgeable enough about the game to where if I need to ask a question about defensive line play, I can just go right over into this office and ask him. It has its benefits.” Coach A has been a part of this program for nineteen years, and fifteen years as the defensive coordinator here at Montclair State University. Coach G usually doesn’t talk to Coach A about his defensive game plans, as Coach G gives him a vote of complete control of the defensive side of the ball. “I will only ask him to change it if I feel it’s necessary.” For the player aspect of the team, senior running back Willie Barr, who has been a part of this program since he was a freshman, has held a superstition before his games in which he usually eats a bag of candy before every game. “Before every game I usually eat a bag of candy.” When asked about if Coach G joins in on the superstitions or anything that the team does, he chuckles and replies with a “no he doesn’t.”
In thirty six years as being the head coach here at Montclair State, Coach Giancola has seen his fair shares of highs and lows, heartbreaks and triumphs, but as the leader of this program, he has enjoyed every single step of the way. With a bright future to look forward to for the team, Coach G will lead this team yet again until he can go no longer. With his future never in question, Coach G is the heart and soul of this program, and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the Red Hawks going forward.