On Wednesday, that coach -- Damian Poalucci -- was unanimously approved by the South Western School District board to replace Seidenstricker as the head football coach, a position Seidenstricker held for 26 years. Seidenstricker will remain the school's athletic director.
Poalucci, who will become the school's fifth head coach in 52 seasons this fall, has been the head junior varsity coach, has coached linebackers and quarterbacks and called the offensive plays for five seasons. John Quashnoc, the head football coach before Seidenstricker, was one person who highly recommended hiring him as an assistant 14 years ago.
"This is home for me," Poalucci said. "It's been home for a long time. The kids are little guys, and they're proud to be little Mustangs. I appreciate all Don's done for me. Don's laid the groundwork. It's exciting to carry on that tradition into the future."
He shares a portion of Seidenstricker's past. Both graduated from East Stroudsburg University and lived in the same dorm room, Shawnee Hall 229, but about 20 years apart.
Poalucci had just finished a football career that included setting 46 school and national records at quarterback when South Western needed a new physical education teacher and football coach. Seidenstricker called East Stroudsburg offensive coordinator Mike Terwilliger. Believing his alma mater had an excellent physical health program, Seidenstricker asked for a recommendation.
"He said, without hesitation, 'I got the man for you: Damian Poalucci,'" Seidenstricker said. "I knew Damian's name because of his accomplishments on the football field. I said, 'Don't just send me your top gun on the football field.' He said, 'This young man has been like a son to me. He's babysat my kids. I'll go to war with him. This is the type of man who'll get it done for you.'
Poalucci first considered taking the position after he talked with Seidenstricker around Thanksgiving.
Seidenstricker wasn't certain how many applications the school received for the position, but said that hiring someone who would also be a teacher would be important.
"You can't wait until the summer and see what teaching positions you're going to have," he said. "We interviewed two candidates on the staff. I think either one of those candidates would've made incredible candidates.
"I've always believed that consistency with kids is an important part of creating an environment where they feel confident, safe, secure and, as a team, we're going to get this done. Honestly, it looks like most of the staff will be intact.
"I think he's going to be a very demanding coach in a great way. I think what you're going to see is an individual who's able to balance a group of 65-to-70 collectively, but have the individual athlete at heart. That's not easy."
Poalucci said he doesn't plan on making drastic changes to the team's offense or defense. He will have to build a team that is losing star cornerback Mike Felton and quarterback Zach Gross to graduation.
Seidenstricker spoke before the school board about his experience as a football coach and became emotional.
"This has been a great passion and a love of my life," he said. "I want to thank you all for a great, great experience, and I couldn't have done it in a better place.
"Twenty-six years (as head coach), 34 total, that's a third of a century. It just seemed like yesterday."
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