Special to the OBSERVER
Fredonia State has hired Tony Ciccarello as head coach of women's softball, effectively immediately, the university announced Monday.
A veteran of 12 seasons at two schools in the State University of New York Athletic Conference, Ciccarello becomes the third head softball coach in Blue Devil history.
Photo Courtesy of SUNY?Fredonia
New Fredonia State softball coach Tony Ciccarello, right, poses with his daughter, Gabrielle, a Fredonia State graduate and softball alum, following the Blue Devils' 2013 home game vs. New Paltz, where Tony had been the head coach.
"I am excited to start a new chapter in my career," he said. "I am looking forward to improving the program and to be consistent year in and year out."
Ciccarello has a career coaching record of 278-193 and his teams have qualified for the SUNYAC tournament 11 times. He was twice named SUNYAC Coach of the Year. In addition, he was a successful high school coach prior to entering the collegiate ranks.
"We are pleased," Fredonia State Director of Athletics Greg Prechtl said, "to have someone with Coach Ciccarello's background and experience assuming the leadership of our softball program. He has been successful at both the high school and collegiate level and has a thorough understanding of the SUNYAC and what it takes to win in this conference.
"Once he has a chance to bring in some players and fill out the squad's roster, we expect to compete with the top teams on our schedule."
Ciccarello is familiar with Fredonia State, both as a rival SUNYAC coach and as a parent. His daughter, Gabrielle, is a 2012 Fredonia State graduate and was a four-year member of the Blue Devil softball team. She is currently the assistant softball coach at Utica College.
Ciccarello comes to Fredonia State from New Paltz, where he coached the Hawks to a 20-19 record in 2013 - including an 11-7 mark in the SUNYAC. The Hawks qualified for the conference tournament for the first time in three seasons and their 11 conference wins were the most since the 2008 team won 13 games.
Prior to his one season at New Paltz, Ciccarello was head coach at SUNY Geneseo for 11 full seasons. His Geneseo teams went 258-174 overall and he coached the 2002 Blue Knights to the program's lone SUNYAC title - resulting with an appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament. Ciccarello was named the SUNYAC Softball Coach of the Year in each of his first two seasons (2002 and 2003). His 2003 and 2005 Geneseo teams won ECAC Upstate Division III softball titles.
In addition to coaching softball at Geneseo, Ciccarello worked as a physical education teacher at the St. Agnes School in Avon, from 2005-12. Prior to Geneseo, he spent 17 seasons as the girls varsity softball coach at Webster High School, leading the Warriors to two Section V Class A championships (1988 and 2001) while being named Monroe County Coach of the Year in 2001.
Ciccarello earned his Bachelor of Science in physical education from The College at Brockport in 1979 and received his Master of Arts in education/curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2006. He succeeds Nicole Loudin, who resigned last August to become head coach at John Carroll University. Loudin served as head coach for two seasons. The Blue Devil softball program was coached by Lorrie Corsi for its first 16 seasons of existence.
Ciccarello's duties at Fredonia State will also includes facilities management in the Department of Athletics & Recreation.
His coaching staff will include second-year assistant Lauren Larson as well as Bob Katta, who previously coached the Blue Devil pitchers from 2010 to 2012.