Veteran Hand coach Steve Filippone confirmed Thursday that he will step down at the end of this season.
Filippone is just the second head coach in the history of the storied Hand program.
Larry Ciotti started the Tigers program from scratch in 1971 and won four state titles during his tenure. Filippone took over in 1989 and has complied a record of 222-78-5 with seven state championships.
Entering the season, Filippone ranked 10th all-time in state history for career victories.
“I’ve had a magnificent and rewarding career here at Hand High School,” Filippone said. “The people here have been nothing but supportive to me and my program. I leave with a good feeling with what I have done for the last 27 years.”
Filippone said he “let our team and parents know prior to the start of the season that I would be leaving after this year”. Filippone added that he has not submitted a formal resignation and won’t until the season is over.
Hand is 1-4 this season and has a bye this week. The Tigers return to action on Oct. 21 at Xavier.
“I didn’t want them (players and parents) or anyone else to think that I am bailing because we didn’t have a good year,” Filippone said. “I absolutely knew that I wouldn’t be returning after this season when I told the kids. I gathered the seniors together and told them that this is their last year and that this is my last year.”
Filippone said that he considered stepping down in 2005, when his son, Kevin, was a senior member of the football team that had just won their third straight state title.
“I knew there were going to be changes in the sport in the coming years (after 2005), but I really felt compelled to stick with it and see the program through to a whole other phase,” Filippone said. “We were fortunate to win a few more state titles. Everyone always told me that I would know when it’s time, and I feel like it’s 100 percent the right choice.”
After recently turning 60 this year, Filippone said it was important to reevaluate his priorities, which ultimately led to his decision to step down.
“From a personal perspective, from a physical and emotional stand point, I am just incredibly tired,” Filippone said. “I need to regroup and take better care of myself. I owe it to my wife (Paula) and my kids (Tommy and Kevin) to do that. They’ve sacrificed for 38 years through my coaching career, and I know it’s now time to give back to them.”
Although Filippone will no longer be the head coach at Hand, he has not ruled out coaching again in the future.
“I’m done coaching high school football,” Filippone said. “I could certainly never coach at another high school in Connecticut. But I wouldn’t rule out coaching at a prep school position or at a local college. I’d love to be involved in coaching at some level, I just don’t want the seven-days-a-week, 365 day-a-year commitment it takes to be a head coach.”
The Filippone File
Steve Filippone’s year-by-year record as Hand football coach, including playoff record and state championship results. Compiled from TigerPrideFootball.com.
|1989||10-1||1-0||Class MM Champions (def. Darien 34-28) VIDEO|
|1993||9-1-1||0-1||Class M runners-up (lost to New Canaan 35-14) VIDEO|
|1994||9-1-1||0-1||Class M runners-up (lost to Foran 28-14) VIDEO|
|1997||13-0||2-0||Class L Champions (def. Staples 14-7) VIDEO|
|2003||11-2||2-0||Class M Champions (def. Ledyard 28-0) VIDEO|
|2004||12-0||2-0||Class M Champions (def. Brookfield 35-6) VIDEO|
|2005||10-2||2-0||Class M Champions (def. Hillhouse 34-0) VIDEO|
|2007||11-1||1-1||Class MM runners up (lost to New Canaan 34-30) VIDEO|
|2010||10-2||1-1||Lost to New Canaan 39-21 in Class L semifinals|
|2011||13-0||3-0||Class L Champions (def. New Canaan 31-10) VIDEO|
|2012||13-0||3-0||Class L Champions (def. Windsor 23-6) VIDEO|
|2013||8-4||0-1||Lost to Darien 31-29 in Class L quarterfinals|
|TOTALS||222-78-5||17-5||7-3 in State Finals|