By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
It was a difficult decision, but four years ago Brian Vegliando stepped down as Wallkill’s football coach.
Returning to a program which he cares deeply about wasn’t hard at all. Vegliando is excited to be back as Wallkill’s football coach and hopes to make the Panthers a contender again. He replaces Shane Regan, who was not retained after two losing seasons.
“It’s obviously very good to be back,” Vegliando said. “I’m excited for the opportunity. Wallkill football is something that has always been a part of me and it was great to be on the staff last year (as an assistant) and get to know some of the players on the team.”
Vegliando said Regan won’t be retained on staff and the new coach is working on hiring offensive and defensive coordinators. Vegliando, 39, resigned as Wallkill’s head coach in December of 2013 after leading the Panthers to the Class A championship game in all five of his seasons. Vegliando made the call to spend more time with his family. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two sons Jackson, 11, and Maxwell, 8.
“My wife has been extremely supportive of me and she just needed me around more,” Vegliando said. “My wife knows I love to coach and my children starting asking me if they could come to practices with me. I just really didn’t have a practice to go to. I never lost my love for coaching and I care about the Wallkill program deeply. I was just ready to come back.”
After serving as an assistant in Wallkill’s program for six seasons, Vegliando replaced Dave Der Cola as head coach in 2009. Vegliando went 36-15 at Wallkill, winning the Section 9 Class A title in 2010. The Panthers were Class A runners-up to Cornwall in Vegliando’s four other seasons. Vegliando is a former Wallkill football captain, graduating in 1997.
Wallkill suffered a fall from grace after Vegliando’s departure, culminating in the Panthers’ 0-9 record in 2017. Wallkill was outscored 410-64 by opponents this season and is 12-24 over the last four years.
“Every year is kind of a rebuilding season,” Vegliando said. “You fix things, you change things and you figure out what players that you can rely on. I think being an assistant gives me an advantage because the players know me more than just being a teacher. I know the kids and their athletic capabilities. The first steps are to get the players to buy in, to commit and allow them to be successful.”
As for making Wallkill a contender again, Vegliando said: “Historically, since the early-2000s Wallkill has been a contender. It takes time, but we want to contend for divisional and sectional titles. We have to build the foundation and the team has to be committed year-round to something that is bigger than themselves and a special part of the community.”
Follow Justin Rodriguez on Twitter at jrodsportshs