In light of the Harbaugh brothers, John and Jim, facing off in this Sunday’s Super Bowl showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, I asked some local coaches who have siblings that also coach in the area to weigh in. While putting the story together, I found that it’s been rare in recent history for two brothers or sisters to coach against each other. Of course, the royal family of football coaches in Section 1 is the DeMatteos (pictured above with mother Cealia), where brothers Tony (head coach at Roosevelt for 31 years; current Somers coach) and Don (head coach at Gorton for 24 years) build a tremendous rivalry in the city of Yonkers. The stories that Tony told me this week were pretty classic, but other examples were few and far between. The prevailing theme with the few coaches that I spoke to was that these situations tend to be more difficult on the parents, and that coaching against your own flesh and blood usually drives you to compete even harder. I imagine those bragging rights will last a lifetime.
From a baseball standpoint, I couldn’t find any sets of siblings who both currently have head coaching positions in Section 1. The one set of brothers that stood are the Virgadamo twins at Haldane. They have a pretty unique setup, with Joe serving as the head coach of the boys basketball team in the winter and Tom as his top assistant. In the spring, they flop, with Tom taking over as the head baseball coach, and Joe serving as his top assistant. Apparently, the situation worked itself out naturally because, as Tom told me, “He had a better jump shot than I did, and on the contrary, he couldn’t hit a curveball.”
How would you feel about coaching against your sibling on a big stage?
Photo by Frank Becerra, Jr./The Journal News