Tony Colizzi of Bishop England talks with scrunners about his recent induction to the SCTCCCA Hall of Fame and life in the sports.
What emotion did you feel when being announced as SCTCCCA Hall of Fame inductee for this track and field season?
I was truly honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. To be included with the group of great coaches that are already in the hall was not something I thought would ever happen
years have you been coaching?
I have been coaching cross country and track since the spring of 2000.
why did you get involved?
I got involved in both because Bishop England needed an assistant coach for both cross country and track. I was a new hire and wanted to get involved in sports at the school. Having never competed in track or cross country, I was up against a steep learning curve. Little did I know that I would be the head coach for both sports (boys and girls) by 2001.
have any mentors as a coach? What impact do they have or did they have on you? Please explain.
My mentors are many who are in the hall of fame. I learned early that at a track meet the best way to become a better coach was to listen to the best. The Kilbreths, Steve Wilson, David Pratt, John Jones Rick Crumpler, Glover Smiley, Marc Bedenbaugh and Jack Van Damen are just a few that have helped me. I always asked them questions about their coaching, workouts and I just listened to how they coached their athletes.
What's your coaching philosophy?
My coaching philosophy is to work hard and lead by example.
coaching, what's your background in the sports?
I played baseball, soccer and tennis throughout high school. I got into running when I was in graduate school, I used it as a stress reliever.
been your most challenging part as a coach?
The most challenging part is finding enough time in practice to work with the kids on the track and the field event people. With a small coaching staff, we get spread thin.
you look for athletes to achieve as part of the Bishop England team?
My biggest goal for each athlete is that they become the best athlete they can become. We do our best on the team to recognize every athlete on the team, no matter their ability. After every meet I hand out personalized PR cards for each athlete that PR'd in the meet.
"My biggest goal for each athlete is that they become the best athlete they can become." - Tony Colizzi
you expect athletes to look for in you?
Hopefully the see someone who will do what it takes to get them to be the best they can be.
How are you looking at the season ahead and preparing the team?
This season will definitely be interesting. Hoping we can make it through the season. Currently, I am working on developing practice strategies that will keep each group of kids socially distanced from other groups. So, the sprinters are separate from distance and throws. Also, will be practicing the girls and the boys in separate groups. We have never done this so it will be a challenge with just three coaches.
you worked around conditioning during a pandemic?
We wear masks before we go on our runs and record each kids temperature before we run.
like for you to host track and field meets and coach at the same time?
Due our track being in poor condition we have not hosted a meet in two years. When we did host meets it is definitely a challenge to host and coach at the same time. We don't have lights on our track so we don't host weekday meets so the only meets that we hosted were the Father Kelly Classic and Lower State. We hosted the Father Kelly Classic from 2004-2018. Hosting on average about 500 kids per meet and 17 teams. We were lucky enough one year to have Jasmine Quinn and Raven Saunders compete. Both went off to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games.
have a time in coaching you will never forget?
Two come to mind. The first is when the girls 4x800-meter relay team placed first and Griffie Loy won first in the shot put and discus at the Taco Bell Classic. For a school of only 700 kids to win three events at Taco Bell was a huge accomplishment.
The other was when the BE track families helped raise money to send Raven Saunders to the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Her mother was so appreciative that a school that competed against her daughter's school would raise money to send Raven to the World Championships.
What would you like to see happen with the sports in the future?
I would like to see the sports continue to grow and hopefully get more recognition. There are many great coaches around the state doing their best to make sure both of these happen.
Tony Colizzi's coaching records
REGION CHAMPIONSHIPS, STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
AND STATE RUNNER UP
STATE CHAMPIONS- 2000, 2006, 2007
STATE RUNNER UP- 2013
REGION CHAMPIONS- 2000-2014, 2017 BOYS
STATE CHAMPIONS- 2008, 2009, 2011, 2018, 2020
STATE RUNNER UP- 2005, 2006, 2010, 16 and 17
REGION CHAMPIONS- 2000-2011, 2019, 2020
STATE CHAMPIONS- 2001-2009, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2019
STATE RUNNER UP- 2015
REGION CHAMPIONS- 2001-2008, 2011-2013, 2016, 2019
STATE CHAMPIONS- 2001, 2009, 2012, 2016
STATE RUNNER UP- 2002, 2011, 2013, 2014
REGION CHAMPIONS- 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2015, 2016, 2018
Career Coaching Results
Head Coach- Fall 2001- Present
Assistant Coach- Spring 2000-Spring 2001
Region Titles (Assistant- 3 Head- 49)
Girls- XC- 17 TF-13
Boys- XC- 14 TF-8
State Runner up Titles (Assistant- 0 Head-9)
Girls- XC-1 TF-1
Boys- XC-3 TF-4
State Championships Titles (Assistant- 3 Head- 22)
Girls- XC-3 TF-13
Boys- XC-5 TF-4
All State Athletes
Track and Field
Head Coach- 44 Individual State Champions
31 Relay State Champions
Head Coach- 6 Individual State Champions
75 All State runners
Girls Track Team shares State Records for most consecutive state titles (9) and most overall state titles (13)
Boy discus thrower (Griffie Loy) holds State Record
Girls won 4x800m Relay at Taco Bell in 2014
2008-10 2A Vice President of Coaches Association
2011 and 2013 Overall State Cross Country Coach of the Year