Jose Saint-Victor was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, on January 21, 1955. At a very young age, Jose left Haiti with his family and lived in the Congo of Africa for two years due to his father taking on an assignment as a civil engineer. After his father’s contract expired, the Saint-Victor family decided to relocate to the United States, making their home in Nyack, N.Y.
Growing up in South Nyack, Jose played pickup games with friends in his neighborhood. He did not start playing organized sports until high school. Jose attended the Nyack Public Schools and graduated from Nyack High School in 1973. At Nyack, Jose participated in football and track & field, earning All-County honors in both sports. Jose played under football coaches Paul Lankau, Mike Longuil, Bob Lankau, Bob Audevard and Al Pesner, and enjoyed the company of teammates such as David Bryant, Steve Anderson, Steve Wanamaker, Pat Arlotta, Sheldon Hudson and Larry White. In track, Jose was coached by Joe McDowell and Paul Lankau. Teammates included David Bryant, Jerry Jackson, Dave Billings, and Jerry and Shulton Whitley. Jose’s top track highlight was sweeping the shot put and discus with teammate Bryant in the Section 9 championships.
College, Professional Success
Through the encouragement and guidance of his high school football coaches, Jose was able to earn a full scholarship to attend and play at Syracuse University. He became a starter on the Orangemen’s offensive line for three years as a tackle. Among Jose’s notable teammates at Syracuse were future NFL players Art Monk (Redskins), Keith Moody (Bills) and Ray Preston (Chargers).
While at Syracuse, Jose earned his degree with a B.S. in physical education, and was named to the Associated Press All-East football team. He also earned the Pat Miller Outstanding Athlete/ Student/ Citizen Award from Syracuse University in 1976. This award is given to only one player per year. After his senior year, Jose was chosen in the eighth round of the 1977 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He also spent time as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL and the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League (USFL). His pro highlights included working with Ken Anderson, Archie Griffin and Pete Johnson with the Bengals, and Randy White, Tony Dorsett and Ed “Too Tall” Jones with the Cowboys.
During the 1980s, Jose participated in the Goals for Youth Program, providing one-on-one counseling and mentoring to migrant students at Manalapan and Freehold high schools in New Jersey. He also worked with the Valley Cottage Indians football program. Prior to his return to Nyack, Jose taught and coached at Edwin Gould Academy in Chestnut Ridge, N.Y., working with troubled inner-city youth placed there by the court system. Jose taught physical education and coached football and basketball alongside Spring Valley’s Jimmy Pinkston. “It was a great experience,” Jose said, “teaching, molding and exposing young people to sports, work ethic, dedication and sportsmanship.”
Coming Back to Nyack
Jose returned to Nyack High School in the late ’80s and coached track and began coaching football in 1998. Working with head coach John Castellano, Jose helped the Nyack football team win five Section 1 titles and two New York State championships, in 2000 and 2003. Other coaches he worked with include James Case, Scott Reynolds, Mike Ramponi, Bruce Reingold and Jim Massaro. Among the many talented Nyack football players Jose coached were such standouts as Terrence Fede, Terrence Baltimore, Nigel Morris, Jermaine Harris, Bobby Nodelman, Shawn Harris and Ted Rene. In 2002, AFLAC named Jose Assistant Football Coach of the Year.
In track Jose has guided such star throwers as Nina Victorin, a state champion in the shot put, as well as Rickssen Opont, Bobby Nodelman, Andrea Case and Maria Doherty. The fraternity of Nyack track coaches during Jose’s tenure encompassed Annie Oakley, John Castellano, Miles Taylor, Shulton Whitley, Edgar Lambert and Russell Stevens.
Jose was a physical education teacher at Nyack from 2001 until his retirement from teaching in 2020. From 2001 to 2016, he also served as dean of students, where he had the opportunity to reach and mentor many students. He continued to coach spring track and serve as strength coach in the winter until the close of the 2021 school year. In 2006, Jose was given the Service to School Award from the national sorority Phi Delta Kappa. In October of 2014, Orange and Rockland Utilities and WHUD named him Teacher/Coach of the Month. In 2017, he received recognition for his commitment to the Nyack Center. Jose is also the recipient of a 2020 award from the Nyack chapter of the NAACP.
Jose continued his athletics exploits well into his adult years. He received numerous awards and holds records in the sport of powerlifting. His all-time best marks in the major powerlifting categories are quite impressive: 625 pounds in the squat, 425 lbs. in the bench press, and a remarkable 722 lbs. in the dead lift. Jose competed with local standouts such as Tony Harlin, Eric Poitevien and Willie Foster, and trained with those three in addition to his brother, Alex Saint-Victor, former NFL star Blaise Winter, and local chiropractor Larry Forgacs.
Jose, who is 67, retired from teaching in 2020 and completed his Nyack coaching career in 2021. He and his wife of 42 years, Diana, moved to Houston, Texas, after Jose’s retirement. They have two grown children, Lawrence, 39, and Jacqueline, 37. Lawrence and his wife, Shay, have a son, Christian, age 3 ½, while Jacqueline and her husband, Jon Hogg, have a daughter, Hunter, 7, and a son, Hudson, who turns 3 in two months.
When asked to sum up his coaching philosophy, Jose replied: “Perseverance, never saying ‘I can’t,’ bettering yourself each day in everything, being a good student-athlete and citizen, and earning and giving respect.”