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Nyack High School

Nyack High School’s football history is the stuff legends are
made of. From the mid-1950s through the 1970s Nyack football
had been an athletic force to be reckoned with in Rockland
County. The Indians had quite a few championship teams and
many great players. When the 1980s came along, championships
for the Nyack football program were in a drought.
They needed someone to come in and revitalize the program.
In 1988, they found their man: John Castellano. John came to
Nyack by way of Westchester County. He worked as an assistant
at his alma mater, Mamaroneck, before moving on to
Gorton, Roosevelt and Iona College. He mastered his craft as
an assistant coach under Section 1 and New York State legend
Tony DeMatteo. John, or “Coach Cas” as the kids refer to him,
knew his football, but more importantly he knew how to teach,
motivate and encourage young men to reach their potential on
the football field and in life. For the next 23 years John and the
Nyack football program racked up league, sectional, regional
and state titles like no other program in the history of Rockland
County: 14 League titles, 7 Section 1 championships, 4
Regional championships, 3 times New York State finalists, and
winning the New York State championship twice, in 2000 and
2003. In 22 of those 23 seasons Nyack football teams made the
Section 1 playoffs or participated in a Section 1 Bowl game
under John’s leadership. Nyack’s overall record during John’s
tenure as head coach from 1988 through 2010 was 180-49-1.
Coach Cas has the distinction of being No. 1 in coaching
victories in Nyack football history and No. 3 all-time among
Rockland football coaches.

Numerous players have been selected All-League, All-County,
All-Section and All-State while playing for Coach Cas, and four
young men were named New York State Player of the Year:
Jermaine Harris in 1989, Ronnie King in 2000, Nigel Morris in
2002, and Pete Samoylo in 2003. And John’s own personal
accolades include being selected as league coach of the year 10
times, Section 1 Coach of the Year twice, Rockland County
Coach of the Year five times, and twice as the New York State
Coach of the Year, in 2000 and 2002. John was also named as
the New York Giants “Lou Reitino” Award winner in 2002,
given to the outstanding football coach in the tri-state area,
and the Gerald Ford All-American Coach of the Year in 2002,
a national coach of the year award. In addition, John has been
recognized and honored by the NAACP for his efforts in
Nyack football and the Nyack community.
Coach Cas served as a physical education teacher at Nyack
High School for 25 years. He also served the children of
Nyack as the high school’s dean of students and its athletic
coordinator. John never allowed an opportunity to educate
children to pass him by, using countless opportunities both on
and off the athletic fields to teach children lessons in school
and life. John’s teaching also extended to the numerous assistant
coaches and teachers with whom he worked. He would
never hesitate to help, educate or simply listen to a colleague,
coach or friend. John would open his heart, home and family
to anyone with whom he was in contact. A former football
parent was quoted as saying, “All the honors John and his
teams have received are wonderful, but more importantly, he
has always had an open-door policy to his team and the students
of Nyack High School. He has helped many kids in
many different ways and he is truly adored by the Nyack
community.” When Coach Cas decided to retire and Nyack
Athletic Director Joe Sigillo posted the position for head football
coach, Sigillo said, “Castellano established a strong tradition
at Nyack over the years. He set the bar high, that’s for
sure. And we’ll do everything we can to reach it.”

After retiring as the head football coach at Nyack, John
continued his coaching career as an assistant coach at Don
Bosco Prep for two seasons. While he was coaching there, Don
Bosco earned a No. 1 national ranking. He then moved on to
Poughkeepsie High School for two seasons. John currently is
the head football coach at Westlake High School in
Westchester, where he has won the Section 1 championship
in 2015 in his class and has been honored as the Lohud
Westchester County Coach of the Year. His continued success
as a coach is still a point of pride and distinction for Nyack and
Rockland County.

John currently resides in Valley Cottage with his wife, Donna.
They have four children: Nickolas, 36, who works in security
management in Las Vegas; Erica, 28, a math teacher in Scarsdale;
Kristin, 27, a first-grade teacher in Yonkers; and Mark,
24, a physical education teacher currently working in the
Nyack school system. John chose Rockland County more than
25 years ago, as the place in which to live and raise his family,
and to help improve the lives of his neighbors and fellow community
members. Coach Cas and his family contribute and
have given countless hours to many local and national charities
including the American Cancer Society, St. Ann’s Food
Cupboard, the Special Olympics and Little League.