Dated: November 6, 2013
By: Anthony Vecchiarello
Following a High School Football team and its coach would normally be of local interest or just another episode of Friday Night Lights. But not when it comes to 36-year-old Head Football Coach Michael Stanley from Baldwin, NY.
Stanley, or Mr. Stanley as the students and teachers call him, is also a twelfth grade Social Studies teacher and is the Dean of Students at Carey High School in Franklin Square, NY. Since 2007, Stanley has been molding his High School Football athletes to excel physically and mentally while also teaching them the fundamentals of being a good and responsible young adult.
This year, is one of the Football team’s best seasons yet with an undefeated record of 8-0; a record that all High School Football teams yearn to acquire. Their Mascot, the Seahawks has made their colors of orange, black and white brighter which each win.
“One play at a time, one week at a time,” Stanley stated.
The closet the Seahawks got to win a championship under Stanley’s leadership was when they made it to the final four in their conference only to lose to Garden City in the 2010 season.
According to MaxPreps.com, The Carey High School Football Seahawks this year have not only won every game in their season, but have also dominated in each game. Defeating teams in their conference from Rockville Center and Long Beach, to Garden City and Levittown to name a few. They’re ranked 47th in NY State and have a National Rank of 2611. They have a national rating of 25.1 and are at the top of their league, which is in Section 8 Conference II.
A few reasons why the Seahawks had so much success this season is because Stanley admits, that most of the players on the team do other sports during the winter and spring seasons.
“They’re good lacrosse players,” Stanley said.
Stanley also explained that last year they had a young team with the majority of players being sophomores or juniors. This year, they’re all juniors and seniors and are much more of a physical threat. Stanley stated the players are committed in the weight room during the off-season as well.
During practices, Stanley makes the team first watch football footage before entering the weight room. Then when they get onto the field they work on the different sides of the ball, constantly going back and forth between offense and defense. This up-tempo energetic approach to practice helps the players keep a strong physical foundation and helps the coach and assistant coaches evaluate which players are best for which positions.
Stanley is proud of all his players, but if he had to think of one that made a huge impact this season, is Quarterback Ray Catapano, number 10. Billed at 6’2’’ from hudl.com, Catapano is on a different offensive level this year than last, Stanley explained adding, having a total of 28 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
What seems to work well with this year’s Seahawks is also the chemistry between the players, Stanley said.
Stanley explained, “They’re a great group of kids and a pleasure to work with.”
Stanley consistently tries to remind his team to do their job, to work hard and to handle things in the right way. This principle has been approached over time and is what helped Stanley achieve ‘The Coach of the Year’ in 2008, 2010, and 2013 and the NY Jets Tri-State ‘Coach of the Week’ in 2010.
Before he was Head Coach, he was the assistant coach at the same school for four years under Matt Mclees who is now the Athletic Director. Mclees who coached from 1991-2006 paved the way for Stanley’s future success. Stanley continues to coach today because he wants to give the same football experiences he had once to now the younger generation.
According to NYJets.com, Stanley played Wide Receiver for the Stony Brook University Seawolves and earned a degree in History.
When the Seahawks play a game, they focus on one snap at a time. After they win a game, regardless of the score, the coach makes sure his players do not gloat. Instead, Stanley reminds the players to be focused on the next week’s game. Right now, their focus is on this Saturday’s first playoff match against Rockville Center South Side.
Stanley’s idea of a “successful team” is one that pays attention to detail, is selfless and works hard. Stanley’s strategy for the playoffs will be the same as the season; to be poised and focused.
Stanley can easily turn the switch from teacher to coach because, “Coaching is teaching one-hundred percent,” he said.
This Saturday, November 9, 2013, watch as Carey High School face-off against South Side on their own gridiron in their first game of the 2013-14 playoffs.