The Boardman Board of Education announced its new head football coach, Joseph Ignazio, 38, during a press conference held last week. Ignazio succeeds Mark D’Eramo, who resigned after last season.
The Spartans went 4-6 last year.
Ignazio’s first task at the helm of Spartan grid fortunes will be to rebuild the staff.
Perhaps as many as four coaches from last year’s team will not return, including former YSU quarterback Tom Zetts, who has indicated he may pursue a second career as a football official, in addition to his duties as a teacher in the Boardman Local Schools. Another grid assistant, Joe Cleghorn, has resigned to take a position at the college level.
Ignazio has received inquiries from a variety of coaches, both locally, and as far away as Tennessee and South Carolina, who have expressed an interest in the Boardman grid program.
“We have a lot of expectations for the football program and we are somewhat unique, in that we are one of the few Division I high school programs in the area,” Ignazio said this week.
The new Boardman head coach will also look to expand interest in Spartan football.
“Our numbers are way down, last season we closed out with about 45 student-athletes on our roster. I will seek to expand that to upwards of 65 players,” Ignazio said.
He noted Boardman has “some good players returning next season, but our lack of numbers also means a lack of depth.
“We had a lot of talent last season, but we lacked depth. Late in the season, with so many kids playing on both sides of the ball, it seemed to take a toll on us. If we can get our numbers up, hopefully we can improve our depth.”
Ignazio and his staff will open the 2013 campaign with an away game against Div. I Hilliard-Darby on Fri., Aug. 30. The Panthers finished the regular season last year with an unbeaten mark and finished 11-1, losing to Pickerington North in the Div. I regional semifinals.
The following weekend, Boardman hosts Cardinal Mooney.
The Cards finished the year at 3-6, the second-worst record in school history (2001). It was only Mooney’s fifth losing season in 55 years of football.
Ignazio will immediately go to work on the program’s off-season conditioning program; and hopes to get more than 45 student-athletes from the high school’s 622 boys to participate in the football program.
“I am very thankful for this opportunity,” Ignazio said this week, indicating he hopes his tenure with the Spartan grid program will be a long one.
“Hopefully I will bring some young blood and renewed enthusiasm to the program,” Ignazio said.
The new head coach graduated from Boardman High School in 1993 and graduated from Youngstown State University in 2000. Since his graduation from YSU, Ignazio has been a teacher at Center Middle School, where he was the recipient of a Boardman Schools Foundation academic grant.
Since joining the Boardman School System, Ignazio has served as an assistant coach for Spartan football, wrestling and track programs.
As an assistant in the Boardman grid program, he has served under three head coaches, Garry Smith, D.J. Ogilvie and D’Eramo.
Ignazio and his wife, Christine, are the parents of two children, Alexa, 5; and Joe III, 2.
2013 BOARDMAN GRID SCHEDULE
Aug. 30...............at Hilliard-Darby
Sept. 6...............Cardinal Mooney
Sept. 13..............at Poland Seminary
Sept. 20..............Canton GlenOak
Sept. 27..............Austintown Fitch
Oct. 4................at Massillon Perry
Oct. 11...............North Canton Hoover
Oct. 18...............at Massillon Jackson
Oct. 25...............at Canton McKinley
Nov. 1................Uniontown Lake