East Rutherford, NJ – The New York Giants and Gatorade have selected Mr. Jay Ciraco of Harrison High School (Harrison, NY) as the Lou Rettino High School Coach of the Week for Week 6 of the 2022 season. On Friday, the Harrison Huskies defeated Rye High School, 22-7, for the first time since 2012. Rye was previously undefeated. The Huskies aim to boost their remarkable 5-1 record with a matchup against Nyack this upcoming Friday.
The Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Week 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 (NJ) coach, Lou Rettino, for his fine commitment to the game of football, his community and the betterment of his athletes' lives. Each week during the high school football season, the Giants select one area high school head coach as the Coach of the Week winner. The selection is based on the coach's continued commitment towards promoting youth football, developing motivated student-athletes and contributing overall to their community.
In recognition of Coach Ciraco's selection as Coach of the Week, a $2,000 check will be granted to the school's football program from The Giants Foundation and Gatorade. Ciraco 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 2023 pre-season home game.
Coach Ciraco is in his fourth year as head coach of Harrison's football program – which has outscored its opponents, 196-70, so far this year. He is also a former quarterback and Harrison football alumnus himself, contributing on the 1999 state championship team. In his four years at Harrison High School, Ciraco captained three sports teams – football, basketball and baseball – before committing to play baseball at George Mason University. Afterwards, Ciraco spent 12 years with Scarsdale High School's football program, including a 2016 Section 1 Class AA championship berth during his defensive coordinator tenure. Ciraco then spent two seasons as an assistant coach for Harrison's football program prior to his promotion. Coach Ciraco currently serves as a physical education teacher in the district and coaches varsity baseball and girls basketball in the alternate seasons.
Harrison's win over previously undefeated Rye is indicative of the culture that Ciraco has created. "During my tenure I have devoted a lot of time building relationships with our youth football coaches, players and their parents, which has resulted in an increase in participation. We currently have over 120 kids in our tackle program and 100 more in our flag programs. It is important to me that every family who takes part in our program understands the rich history and tradition that is embedded in the Harrison Football community," Ciraco shared shortly after the Oct. 8 victory over Rye.
John Stubenvoll, a Harrison football Hall of Fame inductee, articulated the community's trust in Ciraco: "The players and parents love him. The school trusts him, and the community respects him. Jay and the administration have 100 percent of our support, and we are very excited about this new era of Husky football," Stubenvoll said when the school board announced their unanimous choice for the role back in 2019. As Ciraco continues to have success in his fourth season as a head coach, his personal connection to Harrison shines through.
"It has always been a lifelong dream to be an educator and the head football coach of the Harrison Huskies. As a graduate of Harrison, my experience as a Husky has prepared me to promote a positive culture around respect, accountability, commitment, and development for my student-athletes." Ciraco revealed. "This award is truly an honor, but there are so many people responsible for our success that deserve to be recognized. Starting with my amazing coaching staff who make sure our players are geared for success every day. Our players, who show up ready to work and have been coachable since the very beginning. Finally, the parents who have been so supportive throughout the season and have been there every step of the way with their athlete. It truly takes a village, and I am proud, humbled and honored to be the head football coach here at Harrison High School," he reiterated.