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Published: Friday, 4/26/2002

Gucciardo named coach at Start

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

There's a new “Gucci'' on the Tremainsville Road football circuit, but this one's setting up shop down the road a piece at neighborhood rival Start High School.

Pat Gucciardo, 33, a 1987 Whitmer graduate who played quarterback for his father - former longtime Panther coach Pat Gucciardo - and later at Bowling Green State University, is set to replace Doug Pearson as the Spartans' coach.

Pearson, 42-28 at Start from 1995-2001, accepted the coaching position at his alma mater, St. John's Jesuit, on Feb. 28. The younger Gucciardo has been recommended by the Start athletic council, and his hiring is subject to approval by Toledo Public Schools.

“I'm extremely excited about the situation at Start,'' Gucciardo said. “I met many of the players today and they all seemed really excited about getting started.

“Doug Pearson did a phenomenal job with this team. You definitely had to worry about playing Start. So, to follow him, I couldn't ask for a better situation, because those kids are ready to work and ready to win.''

Gucciardo coached against Pearson as an assistant at Whitmer, where he spent three stints totaling six seasons under three head coaches - his father, Jeff Robbins and Dan Fought.

“We're real excited to have him,'' Start athletic director Bob Pawlak said of Gucciardo. “He's very enthusiastic, well organized and seems to be in the mold of Doug Pearson. A lot of people around here were disappointed when Doug left because he did such a good job. But I was happy for him because that's his old school and that was the job he always wanted. He's enthusiastic and has a good football mind.''

As a player at BGSU, Gucciardo served primarily as a backup quarterback, but did start five games in his career and played on the Falcons' 1991 Mid-American Conference championship team.

From 1994 through 1998 he played minor league football for the Southern Michigan Timberwolves, four times earning American Football Association All-American honors and twice guiding the T-Wolves to runner-up finishes in the AFA's national championship playoffs.

“Not much will change from what Doug did here except the offense,'' Gucciardo said. “I'm an old quarterback, so we'll definitely pass the ball a lot more.''

Gucciardo, who graduated from BGSU in 1992, currently teaches at Erie Mason High School in Michigan. Pawlak said a primary objective will be to land him a teaching job at Start.



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