Tony Truilizio, who coached the Riverside football program to great success in the Buffalo Public Schools for the last decade, has been named the new coach at North Tonawanda.
Trulizio told The Buffalo News that he accepted the job offer from NT athletic director Cindy Bullis on Tuesday night.
"I'm grateful for everything that happened at Riverside, and I'm so excited about working in a new community and working with the kids at NT," said Truilizio, who said he will remain a physical education teacher at Riverside, where he will also continue to coach swimming and lacrosse. "It's a professional decision to move upward. My ultimate goal is to coach at the collegiate level. To move in the direction of NT is just a blessing."
Riverside won the Buffalo Public Schools' Harvard Cup championship four times under Trulizio, including its final season in 2009. When the Buffalo schools joined Section VI for the 2010 season, the Frontiers won the AA North title.
"It's bittersweet," said Truilizio. "If it weren't for those kids [at Riverside], the Buffalo Public Schools and Riverside, I wouldn't have this opportunity. The success came from the hard work of the kids and we had a great staff that allowed me to be a successful coach. You can't do it alone."
Rick Tomm coached NT last season but did not reapply for the position. Tomm followed Eric Jantzi, who coached at NT for 11 years -- including the 2009 Class AA state championship -- before stepping down.
"Everybody knows abotu the T-NT game and I'm looking forward to that," said Truilizio. "I'm looking forward to being a competior and obviously our goal is the same as everybody else's: to win a state championship. The division is nice, but winning states is what it's about."
* * *
Truilizio raved about the NT program. I've often said that NT football games are one of the best game-day high school sports experiences in Western New York.
Their new football coach has been a fan of the program for a long while, and it wasn't forged in football.
Truilizio was impressed with NT dating back to his time as a swim coach for Grand Island.
"hen I'd walk in as a coach from Grand Island, you'd see the stands full, parents, fans, just the general community," he said of the swim meets. "People would treat you with the utmost respect, even if you were an opponent. This was my first experience with NT, must have been 15 years ago.
"After I got the job at Riverside, coach Jantzi opened up a four-way scrimmage and we at Riverside got into it for three or four years. When we'd walk in as kids from Buffalo, they had respect for the team, for the kids, for me as coach -- the community was there, the booster club was there. It was just the most wonderful feeling walking into NT.
"I'd go to scout at NT and go to sit in the stands, and you'd just see left to right a full stadium of students, parents, alumni -- I was in shock. I'd walk in there wearing my Riverside colors, and instead of being jerks the fans were the most wonderful fans. 'Hey coach do you need anything?' They'd move over. I've been around long enough -- you don't get that everywhere."
* * *
Trulizio's Riverside lacrosse team, which consists of players from throughout the Buffalo Public Schools, is a member of the Independent Lacrosse Conference this season. The Frontiers, which are fielding varsity and JV teams this year, open its varsity season at home at 5 p.m. Friday against Newfane.
taggedFootball | North Tonawanda | Riverside