Thursday afternoon was a proud moment for Castleton State College as President Dave Wolk held a small press conference to announce the hiring of the college’s first head football coach. At noon, in a conference room in Woodruff Hall, Castleton State College Assistant Dean of Athletics and Recreation, Deanna Tyson, officially introduced Rich Alercio as Castleton’s inaugural head football coach.
Alercio comes to Castleton after spending the last 15 seasons at The College of New Jersey where he held the title of Offensive Coordinator. Last season, he and his squad won their division by going 6-1 in conference and 8-2 overall in the regular season. Their post season was short-lived, but honorable, with a NCAA Division III first round tournament win over RPI and a second round loss to Mount Union, the #1 ranked team in Division III.
His hiring comes after a long and tedious search for a head coach. President Wolk explained that finding the right man was no easy task. According to Wolk, the process of hiring a coach included putting together a search committee. This committee was comprised of a total of six CSC professors and current coaches.
When all was said and done, the search committee had invested over 200 hours and sorted and sifted their way through over 150 candidates for the job.
The final five candidates were invited for on campus interviews, with Alercio finally landing the job.
Tyson introduced Alercio as an “outstanding coach and tenacious recruiter.”
Alercio came to the podium amid applause from Castleton faculty members, coaches, students, and reporters from the local media. He expressed his respect for the other candidates, labeling them as “outstanding people and outstanding coaches.”
Alercio said it was a tough decision to leave The College of New Jersey, a place where he has spent the majority of his coaching career and the last 15 years of his life. “Castleton is a place where I can envision raising my family and spending the next 15 years of my life,” he said.
Alercio brings with him a family consisting of his wife, Kim and three young boys: Shane age 6, Trey, age 8 and Jake age 10. The Alercio family will be relocating from Toms River, NJ.
Alercio acknowledged the attraction of starting a new football program. “I’m not taking over an average, good, or great team,” he said. “We’re starting from scratch. However, I feel that we can be competitive with other schools in the NAC.”
He made it very clear that this will be a long and very difficult process. He will be attempting to recruit from all over New England, as well as New Jersey and northern Pennsylvania. However, on campus recruitment must come first.
“The first thing we must do is get 2-3 dozen on campus students who have played football in high school. We have to build a nucleus,” Alercio said. Physical recruiting will begin after establishing the program and spreading the word throughout New England.
When asked what his goals were for the first football season, Alercio responded quickly and sharply. “We want to win a football game. That has to be our first goal. Once we accomplish this, we’ll move on to our second goal of winning another game.”
Coach Alercio also wants the football program to be seen as Vermont state football. “Every high school football player that does not get a Division I scholarship should be visiting our campus. We should be Vermont football. From north to south, people should be wearing Castleton football t-shirts,” he exclaimed.
Alercio’s official start date is July 1, 2008. Until that time, he will be fulfilling commitments at The College of New Jersey.
When Alercio begins, he will be awarded a full-time assistant coach. According to Alercio, the assistant coach will be utilized as a defensive coordinator. “I will be running the offense,” he said.
Alercio will be entering a Castleton community that is producing a lot of buzz concerning new building projects including a renovated Student Center and Glenbrook Gymnasium. Most importantly, Alercio will be involved with the planning and addition of the new Spartan Stadium, which will be the new home for the football team and fans.
Thus far, the Spartan football team is scheduled to play six NAC football games in the fall of 2009. The first game is scheduled to be played at home on September 26. Other non-conference games may be added before the start of the 2009 season.