Sean Bruso, a 25-year-old former assistant at Alden, is one of several new faces to join SGI’s football coaching staff.
Photo by Dave DeLuca
Springville-GI football made a big splash with the announcement that two-time state champion Eric Jantzi was joining the coaching staff. Yet, the new vision of Springville football will revolve around all six paid coaches as well as volunteers.
“I really think we’re putting an emphasis on a different archetype,” Springville head coach Rob Valenti said. “Less of an emphasis is being put on titles within the group and more of an emphasis on a collective effort. We really have put together a staff of guys that really don’t care what they’re called. It’s really just a desire to work together to support our student- athletes and elevate our program as a whole.”
Joe Marvin and Sean Bruso will lead the junior varsity team, while Rick DeKay and Ed Bates will return to coach the modified program. The four coaches leading the junior varsity and modified teams will work with the varsity heavily this coming fall. While they will be in charge of their respected teams, they will also be in charge of coaching a position throughout the program.The junior varsity team will be practicing with the varsity program a lot more this season.
“It maximizes the people that we have and it’s more efficient with time,” Valenti said. “Having the varsity and JV teams working together in terms of dynamic warm ups, agility drills, and stretching, it allows us to stay together as a whole a little bit, so when we do break out in individual work, every coach has their expertise or forte.”
Marvin returns to Springville after spending four years at Lake Shore and will be the junior varsity head coach. Marvin played collegiately at Buffalo State and will enter his 17th year of coaching football.
“I’m excited to have Joe back,” Valenti said. “Joe has a great football mind and is going work really well with our JV kids in addition to being a varsity position coach. He really brings a wealth of knowledge.”
Marvin has coached all three levels at Springville, including heading the varsity team. Marvin last coached at Springville in 2009 before joining the Lake Shore staff for four seasons. When Marvin isn’t coaching football, he is leading the Springville track team. He has coached track at Springville for the 13 years.
“I’m excited, it’s going to be nice working with the same kids year round,” Marvin said. “I’ve said this before, but when my track guys like Cody Schweickert and Evan Brand were reminiscing about football, I didn’t like not being a part of that conversation.”
The youngest member of the coaching staff is 25-year-old Sean Bruso. Bruso will be the junior varsity assistant and despite his age, Bruso has been in a lot of different coaching circles in WNY. Bruso immediately started coaching after he graduated Lancaster High School, beginning as a volunteer assistant for the modified team at Maryvale in 2007 and 2008. From Maryvale he spent time coaching at Lancaster, North Tonawanda (one year with Jantzi) and most recently at Alden.
“Sean’s a very focused, organized and enthusiastic coach, Valenti said. “On paper or on the surface you can look at him as a young coach, but his experience extends far beyond his years of age. He’s been a part of so many great football trees, in terms of coaching and success. He’s had success wherever he’s been... He eats and breathes football.”
Bruso was the head junior varsity coach at Alden last fall. Along with his JV duties, Bruso was a key component to the varsity team that went to Ralph Wilson Stadium for the Section VI Championship, where he was the quarterbacks coach for All-WNY quarterback Brian Stoldt. Alden is one of the premier Class B programs in WNY. The Bulldogs have won the Section VI title in three of the last four years.
Bruso decided to go from head JV coach at Alden to assistant JV coach at Springville.
“Certainly tradition was the first thing that came to my head,” Bruso said. “Springville is a very tradition-rich community... And then the kids. The best thing about the kids at Springville is they’re hungry. You can tell that they want to win, they want to be successful. They just want to get better. All of those things come to fruition in making my decision to come here.”
Bruso also has a role with Time Warner Sports. When Springville won five-straight games to play in the Class B Championship in 2012, Bruso was doing color commentary during their game against Cheektowaga. Bruso believes Springville can become one of the elite programs in the area.
‘We’re excited for the challenge and very real possibility of getting the program back to the level it deserves to be at and change the landscape of Section VI Class B,” Bruso said.
The modified team will be led by Rick DeKay and Ed Bates. DeKay will enter his 38th season of coaching football and is a member of the West Valley Athletics Hall of Fame. DeKay and Bates coached the modified last season as well.
“Rick has been coaching longer than a couple guys on the staff have been alive,” Valenti joked. “I say that respectfully. To bring that wealth of knowledge to the modified level is huge... And with Ed, we’re really excited about bringing a really good coach and a really good educator back. He’s somebody that works in the middle school and has an ability to communicate and rally kids on a daily basis.”
Valenti hopes to recommend some volunteer assistants to the Board of Education in the coming month. The football program will be holding a Parents Night on June 24 at 6 p.m to give parents an opportunity to meet the coaching staff.