Sanfilippo Recalled as Legend in Salamanca
For all the success he enjoyed on the football field under Joe Sanfilippo, including an undefeated season, Jud Foy said his greatest memories of the coach were away from it.
Son of the late Salamanca administrator and coach Louis Foy, Jud played high school football from 1968-72, near the end of Sanfilippo’s run with the Warriors.
“You have to understand, we feared Joe,” Foy said. “He was the disciplinarian and one thing you learned about Joe is you don’t make the same mistake twice. But our senior year, Carl, his son, was one of my closest friends in high school and in May, we had our junior-senior prom. Joe invited all of us seniors who played for him to come to his house after the prom to hang out with our dates.
“We weren’t sure what to expect because we just feared this man like there was no tomorrow, but he showed us this human side of him we never knew existed. We played pool with him, we did other things and it wasn’t the same man who coached us in football.”
SANFILIPPO, a Navy veteran, legendary coach and San Jose State star, died Sunday in Syracuse at Veterans Medical Center at 91.
He arrived in Salamanca in 1957, named the school’s football coach that August, after moving from Gallup, N.M., where his coaching career began.
After a 1-6 debut season, he built the Warriors into a powerhouse with four undefeated seasons (1964, 1965, 1967 and 1971) and went a total record of 95-33-4. After two of his undefeated seasons, 1964 and 1971, he was named Big 30 coach of the year.
His Salamanca tenure included 11 championships in the then-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Interscholastic Athletic Conference and Division VI of the Section VI Football Federation.
“He was an old-school, very basic, disciplined football coach,” Foy said. “We did not have a lot of plays in Salamanca, but what we did have, he practiced us to perfection. The man could tear apart an opposing team’s offense or defense like there was no tomorrow.”