The Best Offense is a Good Defense as Coaches Quirolo, Petrillo Reunite
If the old adage that "the best offense is a good defense" holds any water, then the varsity football offense just got a whole lot more prolific as former longtime coaches Victor Quirolo and Felix Petrillo LS'85, US'89 are returning to the Gridiron Gaels sideline as defensive coordinator and defensive tackles coach, respectively. The move gives Iona Preparatory one of the most experienced and decorated coaching staffs in the Catholic High School Football League (CHSFL) and greater metropolitan area.
Cumulatively between the 12-person staff are 13 Sectional titles, 10 class AA and AAA CHSFL championships and five state crowns. Quirolo and Petrillo each have an AA and AAA title to their credits, and were together when the 2008 team--honored this past fall during Homecoming--won the AAA title over then-seven-time-defending St. Anthony's.
"During my three year tenure at Iona Prep, our offense has produced at a historic level. Being able to add coach Vic and coach Petrillo to our defensive staff, with all their years of experience and knowledge in the CHSFL, will get our defense over the hump and allow me to focus more on being a head coach," Joseph Spagnolo '98 said. "This is the most experienced coaching staff I have ever been a part of; there are seven or eight coordinator-level coaches on the staff that have come together with the common goal of making sure our boys are coached at a very high level.”
2019 would be Quirolo's second tour in the defensive coordinator slot, a position he also held from 1989-1996 after a year with the junior varsity. He became the JV head coach in 1997, and varsity head coach in 2003.
"The decision makes sense for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, I've taught at Iona Prep for a number of years and want to continue helping transform our boys into young men of Edmund Rice," Quirolo said. "Second, to be able to hit the ground running with a program I am already very familiar with and focus on stopping our opponents, well it was just too good to pass up."
After stepping down in 2015
, Quirolo has been the offensive coordinator of the Harrison Huskies for the past two seasons. He was inducted into the CHSAA Hall of Fame in 2016.
"Quite simply, Vic is one of the best defensive coordinators in the tristate area," Athletic Director Bernard Mahoney said. "When the opportunity to bring him back presented itself, of course we wanted to pair his drive-killing schemes with our offensive prowess. Getting Petrillo along with him was icing on the cake."
A member of the Board of Director's and Iona Preparatory's 2018 President's Dinner honoree along with his wife, Laura, Petrillo has coached the Gaels for the better part of 19 seasons. During that time, he has worked with the offensive and defensive lines, as well as special teams. Petrillo was was a four-year letterman in baseball and football, becoming a two-time First Team All-League selection, All-State and New York Daily News All-Star on the gridiron.
"Obviously, I'm a proud Iona Preparatory alumnus, and this is just another way that I can continue to give back to a school that has done so much for, and has had such a long history with, my family," Petrillo remarked. "As I told Mr. Mahoney just the other day, I was so impressed watching the live stream of our most recent National Signing Day; now, I get to continue being a more active part of those days by coaching our young men and encouraging them to take advantage of all the opportunities Iona Preparatory affords its scholars and athletes."
Quirolo and Petrillo will join with Spagnolo and the rest of the coaching staff in trying to bring the AAA title back to Iona Prep. The Gaels open the season on Sept. 7 with a non-league match-up at Xavier. New to the schedule this year is a Sept. 14 game at MetLife Stadium against New Jersey's Pope John that's being dubbed the "Battle for the Bridge."
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