Jacobbe Receives Zoltek Passion for Coaching Award
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- On a night when his Drury boys soccer team celebrated its successful 2017 campaign, John Jacobbe was celebrated for the passion that makes him a success in every season.
Jacobbe, who also coaches varsity basketball and tennis, was honored Sunday as this year’s recipient of the Frank A. Zoltek Passion for Coaching Award at the Blue Devils’ season-ending banquet at the Elks Lodge.
Jacobbe received the trophy from his daughters Lauren and Gianna, who shared their insight into what drives their dad to be a year-round presence on Northern Berkshire sidelines.
“My dad’s passion for coaching is so big, it can fill Santa’s sleigh,” Gianna said.
Her big sister Lauren, a junior at Mount Greylock, said she knows what it is like to play on a team coached by her father, but she also has a perspective most of his players don’t get to see.
“Long before soccer season starts, he begins watching videos and reading books [about coaching],” Lauren said. “And throughout the season, he continues to make coaching a priority.”
John Jacobbe, who led Drury’s boys to back to back Berkshire County South Division titles and a berth in this year’s Western Massachusetts Division 4 title game, is the 21st recipient of the “Frankie,” named for Zoltek, a legendary coach at Drury, the former North Adams State College (now MCLA) and the former St. Joseph’s High School in North Adams.
Zoltek, who died in 2005, also was a physical education teacher at North Adams’ Conte Middle School, where he crossed paths with Jacobbe.
“When I think about having a passion for coaching, this is the first person I think of,” Jacobbe said Sunday in accepting the award.
“I wish I could be one-tenth of the coach that he was.”
In years past, the Frankie has been awarded at a banquet held in honor of the recipients. This year, the night’s main focus was on one of the recipients’ teams, which suited Jacobbe just fine.
After sharing a meal with family and friends, the Drury players heard heartfelt words from Jacobbe and his assistant coach, Juan Ramos. True to his passion, Jacobbe had anecdotes and insights to share about all the boys who contributed to the Blue Devils’ success the last two years, when Drury accumulated a record of 27-11-3, including this year’s loss to Lenox in the sectional final.
Jacobbe confessed that he was “tired of people congratulating us for finishing second,” but then praised the competitive spirit in a Drury program that won just four games combined in 2014 and 2015, when this year’s seniors were freshmen and sophomores.
“We held a very good team to 2-0 until about 15 minutes left,” Jacobbe said of the 2017 Western Mass final. “Although I’m not happy with the loss, I’m happy with the way we competed.
“For the seniors, you can graduate after being the first Drury team in decades to make the Western Mass finals. And you got two come-from-behind wins to get there.”
Frank A. Zoltek Passion for Coaching Award recipients:
2007 - Bill Robinson
2008 - Ray Miro
2009 - Bob LeClair and Bob Rivard
2010 - Jack Racette, Holly McGovern, Paul Barrett
2011 - Ed Noel and Erika DeSanty
2012 - George Canales and Steve Phaneuf
2013 - Shawn Flaherty
2014 - Al Giorgi and Mike Larabee
2015 - Blair Dils, Hilary and Hiram Greene, Steve Messina
2016 - Paul Sniezek and Ron Wojcik
2017 - John Jacobbe