East Rutherford, N.J. – The New York Giants and Gatorade have selected Mr. Nick Aiello of Tioga Central High School (Tioga Center, N.Y.) as the 2023 Lou Rettino High School Coach of the Year.
Aiello's excellence in coaching during his 14 years at the helm of the Tigers program has made football a unifying source of pride, and the centerpiece of the small town of Tioga Center, N.Y. His unique dedication to his students, and his passion for the game he loves have produced an impressive career record of 136-23. Participation in football has blossomed under his leadership throughout the community. With a senior class of just 68 total students, this tiny juggernaut of a football program has a thriving Varsity and JV team, and an equally healthy youth program beneath it.
On December 2nd, the top-ranked Tioga Central Tigers entered the Syracuse Dome to compete against Section II champion Stillwater (11-1 entering the game) for the Class D NY state championship. The Tigers won 63-14 to win their third consecutive state title. This extends their winning streak to 41 games since 2021. Last year, the Tigers became the first team to ever win 14 games in a season in New York State, and this year, they became the second.
The Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Year Award is part of the Giants' continuing effort to support local high school football programs. The Giants elected to name the award in memory of former Union High School (N.J.) coach, Lou Rettino, for his fine commitment to the game of football, his community and the betterment of his athletes' lives. The Giants also select a Coach of the Week during the first ten weeks of the high school football season. The selection is based on the coach's continuing commitment towards promoting youth football, developing motivated student-athletes and contributing overall to their community.
In recognition of Coach Aiello's selection as Coach of the Year, a $4,000 check will be granted to the school's football program from The Giants Foundation and Gatorade. He will also receive a certificate of recognition signed by Giants head coach Brian Daboll, and will be honored at a dinner following the season, as well as a 2024 pre-season home game. Aiello will also be the Giants' nominee for the NFL's Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award, and will receive $1,000 from the NFL Foundation.
In the first game of the 2023 season, Tioga challenged neighboring Waverly, a larger program who would go on to win the 2023 Class C State Championship. In this matchup of rivals, Waverly came in as the Goliath with the advantages of their physical size and a larger roster. Despite these setbacks and a mid-game postponement due to lightning, Aiello was able to guide Tioga to a 23-17 win in overtime over their local rival in a nail-biting finish.
Holding himself, his staff, and his players to the highest standards, Aiello models what it means to be a champion on the field, off the field, in the classroom, and around other people. For the 3rd year in a row the football team has qualified for the NYSPHSAA Scholar athlete program, meaning 75% of the team must average above a 90 to qualify. This year the team had a combined scholar athlete GPA of 95.
Aiello's accomplishments are just a small part of what makes him a special coach. It is his commitment to Tioga's student-athletes, not just at the high school level but from the youth programs as well. During this football season, Aiello would leave varsity football practice to go straight to youth flag football practice, where he would coach the young children, including his own son. This could sometimes mean Aiello would coach two games on a Saturday: one varsity and one youth. Outside of the football season, he also volunteers his time coaching youth basketball and baseball.
Aiello graduated from Ithaca College, and he has taught at Tioga Central High School as the Global II teacher since September 2006. In addition to teaching, Aiello also serves as the district's technology coordinator. In a district with 1-to-1 technology, Aiello is responsible for managing technological devices, connectivity, and user issues on top of coaching and teaching.
Aiello and his fiancée, Jen, share two young children, Winston and Willa.
2023 Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Week Honorees Presented by Gatorade
Week 1 - Dylan Everleth, Saranac High School, Saranac, NY
Week 2 - Marcus Gurdineer, Warren Hills Regional High School, Washington, NJ
Week 3 - Kevin Freeman, Carteret High School, Carteret, NJ
Week 4 - Michael Morano, Arlington High School, LaGrangeville, NY
Week 5 - Alex Vega, John F. Kennedy High School, Bronx, NY
Week 6 - Damon Harrison, Newark East Side, Newark, NJ
Week 7 - Zoran Milich, Montgomery High School, Skillman, NJ
Week 8 - Dan Farina, Newtown High School, Newtown, CT
Week 9 - Anthony DeMatteo, Somers High School, Somers, NY
Week 10 - Ty Jenkins, Bunnell High School, Stratford, CT
2023 Coach of the Year – Nick Aiello, Tioga Central High School, Tioga Center, NY