Andrew, born 2001
Matthew, born 2003
Catherine, born 2005
Released my first book in February 2011... Titled A Coach and a Miracle, it's currently on sale at www.acoachandamiracle.com and Amazon, and was due in bookstores March 15, 2011. I co-wrote it with Jim Johnson ('77) about Jason "J-Mac" McElwain, the autistic kid coached by Jim who in 2006 scored 20 points in four minutes for Greece Athena and became an international sensation. This book has very deep meaning for me, as I have two sons on the autism spectrum.
Still live in Greece right behind the Arcadia football field/track, so the ol' alma mater still is very much a part of my life!
It hasn't been lost upon me that many high-school memories posted here centered around Tony Ruggieri, a one-of-a-kind! I've never met anybody like him before or since. Think about it ... a teacher whose pasttime was standing in the hallway between classes and harassing as many people as he can ...
Here's the interesting thing. Of all my high-school teachers, I think he's probably had the biggest effect on my career.
The first newspaper article I ever wrote was for the Arcadian Reed under his guidance. He also taught the first college course I ever took, college English, and was actually a very effective teacher. I remember sharing with him my interest in studying journalism in college, and he was very supportive. One-on-one, he was quite a caring individual. Those things do make a difference when you're a high-schooler who could have stood some more self-confidence, as was the case with me.
That's another thing I have to chuckle about. I wasn't the type of person to make waves in high school; by and large I was just kind of there ... pretty shy and unsure of myself. Seeing an adult acting so outrageously (with strong honorable mention to Paul Hardmeyer!), I think, helped bring me out of my shell. I gradually evolved into an extrovert and I'm sure Tony Ruggieri was a contributor in that social development.
Now I wish I could track some of my high-school teachers down and let them know I appreciated what they did for me. I haven't spoken one word to Mr. Ruggieri since I graduated, but while helping put this reunion together learned that he was quite ill with lung cancer. He passed away a few months later.