As I reported Thursday afternoon, longtime Nyack coach John Castellano will be named Poughkeepsie’s next head football coach on Monday at a board of education meeting. The two-time state champion is one of the names listed on the agenda on Aug. 5. (You can view the agenda by clicking HERE. The coaching appointments are listed in item 4.5 “Instructional Extra-Service Coaching Appointments.”)
The 58-year-old Castellano left Nyack in 2011 and spent the last two seasons as a defensive assistant at national power Don Bosco Prep. He was Nyack’s head coach for 23 seasons, winning 180 games, including state titles in 2000 and 2003. His teams won six Section 1 titles since the inception of the state tournament in 1993, most recently in 2008.
According to sources, Castellano initially determined he would not accept the Poughkeepsie position after meeting with athletic director Matt Cameron. He had not wavered from that decision as of late last week despite overtures from the district, but decided to accept the job Thursday.
Castellano will replace popular coach Ken Barger, a Carmel graduate who led Poughkeepsie to its only sectional title of the state tournament era in 2011. According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, Barger, who coached the team for seven seasons, was among those disciplined by the district. Poughkeepsie is currently investigating unauthorized accommodations that were given to students during New York state Regents exams in January. (Barger was also a co-chair of the special education department.)
Castellano’s Poughkeepsie staff will include two of the program’s best players in recent memory. NFL veteran Charles Spencer Jr. and former Texas A&M linebacker Matt Featherston are also named on the board agenda for Monday’s meeting. Spencer Jr., an offensive lineman, graduated Poughkeepsie in 2000, attended Pitt, and played two games for the Houston Texans in 2006. Featherston graduated from Poughkeepsie in 2005.
Castellano is scheduled to return to Nyack with his new team on Oct. 4. Poughkeepsie is slated to visit the Indians at 7:30 that night at MacCalman Field.
The Mamaroneck High School graduate went 180-48-1 in his 23 seasons at Nyack. He is the third-winningest coach in Rockland County history behind North Rockland’s Joe Casarella and Nanuet’s Rich Conklin.