By CRAIG HARVEY
OBSERVER Sports Editor
As the Dunkirk School Board was announcing the appointment of Rob Genco as the new head coach of the Marauders' football team, Genco was boarding a flight to Denver, Colo., to visit close friend and current Denver Broncos running backs coach Eric Studesville.
Rob Genco, front, seen hugging Kane Kettle after a Silver Creek boys’ basketball win in February, will look to get Dunkirk’s football program turned around much the same way he has created a Sectional threat out of the Black Knights.
When former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels was fired in mid-season of 2010, Studesville was named the interim coach for the rest of the season.
While Genco is in Denver, maybe Studesville can give Genco some pointers on taking over a team on short notice.
After the resignation of former head coach Mike Sarratori, Genco and the Marauders have very little time to get acquainted with each other as practice is set to begin in five weeks.
"I always wanted to be a head coach of a football team and I knew it would happen sooner or later," Genco said. "I believe things happen for a reason. I am glad they felt highly enough to give me the job. I'm ready to get to work. It happened quick, but that's the nature of the beast. For the kids, it needed to be a quick process. The concern was the kids were in limbo. The position needed to be filled quickly."
Genco has been a member of the Silver Creek Black Knights coaching staff the last several years as he has been an offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator. Though the Black Knights are in Class D, Genco is very familiar with the Class B as he played his high school ball at Eden where his Raiders made two trips to Ralph Wilson Stadium. After high school, he went on to play four years at Brockport.
Though football is clearly Genco's passion, he has been the coach of the Silver Creek boys' basketball program the last two years and turned that program into a perennial powerhouse almost instantly. The Dunkirk faithful can only hope he brings some of that magic to the Karl Hoeppner gridiron.
"I am ready and I will get them ready," he proclaimed. "I'm looking forward to meeting the kids and getting to know them. The (Sarratori) situation, I had no control over that. I know I have to get these kids ready for a football season. Winning is what I'm going to focus on. It's not about me. Dunkirk has always had a great student body that can get it done and probably be competitive in our league and in the Section. That excites me even more."
Because Genco is not a teacher in the Dunkirk City School District and not many coaches are available to choose from, Genco is filling his staff with teachers within the district.
"Being this late, the guys I have in mind are on staff or committed elsewhere," Genco continued. "What I asked is that there are staff members from the district who have relationships with these kids already. The first thing I want to do is meet the kids as soon as I get back. Then we will get going on the staff."
Varsity basketball coach Jerome Moss fits that description and will be an assistant coach this season.
Now, Genco is excited to get a shot as the man in charge and implement his philosophies.
"I have a lot of life mentors," he said. "What I have learned the most is from experience. I spend more time and energy into relationships with the kids. It's more caring and nurturing. When you get them to believe in you and respect in you, they believe in you and the system. That's what I have learned. When I got the basketball position in Silver Creek I was able to do it my way. To see it work and the way kids have responded to it, it was rewarding to me. The hardest part will be not coaching Silver Creek. I have such a strong bond with those kids. I broke a lot of hearts, but they know me and know it's something I have always wanted. I had some of my kids from Silver Creek text me and tell me they love me and are happy for me."
With Silver Creek behind him, Genco will now open up a new chapter in his coaching career and is excited to get going on the season.
"It was hard for me to get on the plane to go to Denver," he said. "It's good football in Class B. All the teams are well coached. It will be fun. I'm just excited to get going and do it the way I do it. It will be something I always wanted. I am looking forward to meeting the kids and get the community excited."