Alumni: Bartoszek ready for summer with the Big 30

BRADFORD, Pa. — Chad Bartoszek certainly knows his way around the Big 30 Charities Classic.

Like most high school football players in the Southern Tier, he grew up hoping to play in the annual senior game between the best in the area from New York and Pennsylvania. He got that chance in 1999, playing for his high school coach, Salamanca’s George Whitcher, in his final game. After a college career at the University at Buffalo and going to camp with the Indianapolis Colts for two years, he returned to the Big 30 game as an assistant on the staff of former Salamanca coach Jason Marsh.

Now, Bartoszek, the fifth-year coach at Franklinville/Ellicottville (the last four under the F/E merger), he’s ready to lead New York as a head coach when the 45th Big 30 game kicks off Saturday, Aug. 4 at Bradford High’s Parkway Field. He drew on those years of memories almost two decades after playing in the game when he met with the New York team on Sunday for Big 30 media day.

“I JUST sat down and wrote down everything I could think of and it all just started coming back,” Bartoszek said Sunday. “The biggest thing is just the people, the teammates. When you're in high school you're kind of trained to not like someone from a different school. These kids are a little more connected than we were through social media, different types of travel teams, they connect better than we did but they’re still rivals in some senses. (My memories were) meeting new people, meeting new teammates, lifelong friends and of course playing for coach Whitcher his last coaching a game at the varsity level was a huge honor as he was retiring, and winning.”

Pictured is the New York coaching staff for the 45th Big 30 Charities Classic football game. From left: Mark Blecha, head coach Chad Bartoszek, Jason Marsh, Aaron Hill. Missing from the photo was assistant Harley Butler. Press photo by Sam Wilson

Citing the time commitment for a media day, coaches meetings and practices leading up to the game, Bartoszek said he wanted to make sure his family was ready before he accepted the Big 30 invitation.

“There's a huge time commitment, so the decision was based off family,” he said. “We've got two young boys at home and my wife does a lot of that work when it's football time and adding three extra weeks to that is difficult for her and our family. We're starting to get to the point where it's a little easier with the age of our kids and we've got a big class of Titans this year that we're excited to coach. It just matched up. On top of all that, even if all that was right, it doesn't mean I would still do it, the biggest thing is just the game. The game has always been something that I appreciated playing in it, coaching and it's just a such a great game … giving back to it is important.”