Alercio is the right man for the job

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter in response to the editorial published recently in regards to the recent hire by St. Johnsbury Academy of football coach Rich Alercio. I have come to know Coach Alercio over the past six years and can say without hesitation that there is not a better football coach in the State of Vermont. With that being said, he is as great a person, as he is a football coach. This past season Coach Alercio volunteered to coach the Green Knights football team, a padded flag football team made up of 6th-8th grade students in Rutland, Vt. He was loved by the players and respected and loved by the parents; some of who may have had the same concerns about Coach Alercio as you do, as a result of basing your opinions on printed material and not personal experience. Both incidents you refer to in your column where blown out of proportion. The "heated argument" was no different than any that happen in the thousands of games played each day, probably no different than arguments that take place on ball fields and basketball courts in your home town. The second incident did not take place in front of the kids as you would like to paint the picture based on a selectman's comment. It was a situation that happened away from the players and fans and one that "both" men took responsibility for.

What you failed to locate in your Google searches were the positive things coach Alercio has done for the community. He was often heard stating the hand that gives gathers. He strongly believes his players should and will give back to the community. Over the past six years Coach Alercio has become a valuable member of our community. He often volunteers around the Town with various projects and was a leader when it came to Castleton State College football players performing community service projects in and around the City. He is the type of man who does not look for credit, but is always willing to go the extra mile to help out in any manner he can. He is the type of coach former players keep in contact with because he meant something to them.

I have coached alongside Rich Alercio while at Castleton State College as well as during many summers when our kids played on the same youth baseball teams. He is a very passionate man who has one thing on his mind when coaching, that is to make each and every player he coaches better as an athlete and as a person. I am disappointed that people choose to focus on two or three negative interactions, of which they base their opinions on printed material without having facts from the people that were there. Coach Alercio has coached for the better part of 25 years and has had thousands of interaction with officials and umpires that were positive, yet you want to focus on two that were not.

I will disagree 100% with your final comment that St. J should hire someone actually deserving of Mrs. Choiniere's praise. Coach Alercio is more than deserving of the praise, unfortunately people like you will pass judgment on a man before giving him a chance. Coach Alercio would do wonders for your football program as well as your community.

Jeff Cassarino

Rutland, Vt.

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