Joe Sanfilippo: Chautauqua Sports Hall Of Fame Welcomes New Members
Joe Sanfilippo retired from the high school football coaching ranks in 1982, but when one thinks about the top coaches his name is always brought up for his accomplishments. Sanfilippo had incredible success while winning numerous championships at Gallup, New Mexico, Salamanca and finally at his alma mater, Jamestown High School.
Sanfilippo was an outstanding football player for Jamestown coach Dent Moon and in his senior season of 1942 was named co-captain with Pete Wilson. That season the Red Raiders compiled a 6-1-1 record for the first winning season that the school had since being 6-3 in 1934.
In Sanfilippo's final game he kicked the winning field goal from 18 yards away with 1:50 left to give the Red Raiders a 10-7 victory over Erie Academy. That field goal in a downpour on November 20 was believed to be the first made by the Red Raiders since Neil Brown connected against Olean 16 years earlier in 1926.
Sanfilippo played tackle in his final game after being an end all season. Of course, that tackle position wasn't new to him as he was stationed there during his junior season.
Not only was Sanfilippo outstanding in football, but also in other sports. He ran track for the Red Raiders for three years and was a Chautauqua County doubles champion in tennis. At 16, he also was second in the City Senior Tennis Doubles and at that same age played baseball for the Jamestown Spiders. Sanfilippo went to Batavia to tryout with the Batavia Clippers of the PONY League, but was sent home when it was found out he was just 16.
After graduating from Jamestown in 1943, Joe attended San Jose State where he played football and tennis.
Sanfilippo enjoyed great success while coaching at Gallup as he won a pair of state championships and was runnerup another time.
In 2002, Gallup had a Joe Sanfilippo Day in recognition of his success there. Sanfilippo also coached at Forestville, but it was at Salamanca where he brought a slumping program back to incredible success.
He was at the Salamanca helm for 17 years and captured 11 titles in making the Warriors one of the most respected programs in Western New York and across New York state.
Joe Sanfilippo, wearing the headset. At left in blue jacket is his brother Sam. At right, over the official's shoulder, is Wally Huck