By Kaylyn Ahrenstein
The Stony Brook football team ended its Fall 2015 season with a 5-5 record and lost two of its top players to graduation. With these two important players leaving the team, among other well trained players, coach Chuck Priore has many challenges ahead of him.
Losing players is one of many issues with the upcoming season. In March 2016, the Stony Brook Basketball team won their first American East Championship game, making history for the school. Will Priore feel more pressure to produce a championship? When asked, Priore said he feels that the basketball team’s success can only help the other athletic programs, such as the football team. The school’s name is out there and so other athletes will want to come play for the school.
When asked about his team for the upcoming season, Priore said he was not concerned. He understands that in college football, the teams go through cycles. There are ups and downs with losing great players and gaining young talent, and having to retrain them and develop them from the start. This is common in all college sports as well as moving up in divisions and conferences.
Stony Brook’s football team moved to the Colonial Athletics Association, also known as the CAA, which is a tougher conference and therefore the teams are more difficult to compete with. Priore’s response to this new phase in his team was elegantly put. “Every Saturday afternoon there’s a winner and a loser,” said Priore, “It’s 50-50.” He was calm and confident that his team will be back on top just as they were in 2011 and 2012 with the season records of 9-4 and 10-3. The team works hard everyday whether it be at a practice or at a workout.
On Thursday, March 24, 2016, I was able to go to a practice and shadow Coach Priore for a day. Priore mostly worked with the offensive side of the team. When asked about this, he said that he was more of an offense-oriented coach.
Priore has been a coach since he graduated from the University of Albany in 1982 with his undergraduate degree. Priore continued his coaching for Albany until 1985 when he received his master’s in business education, however, he took one year off to work in the corporate world. Before coaching he played football for Albany as a running back, which is an offensive position. This, Priore explained, was partially why he was more interested in coaching the offensive team.
After coaching for Albany as a running back strength coach, he then coached for multiple schools leading up to his career as a head coach. Soon after, he became head coach at Stony Brook in 2006. Although he worked with the offensive side more, he did work with the defensive team as well and even got into the mix and explained placement on the field and technique.
Dante Allen is a former Stony Brook defensive lineman for the football team. He graduated in December of 2015 happily explained how Coach Priore helped him. “Priore taught me how to better understand what it is to be a more responsible man for my team and to be accountable for more than just myself.”
When asked what he felt were the challenges last year for the team compared to this year, he responded: “Our communication needed work, we needed to be more open to what he was preaching.” When asked about this years’ challenges, he said he wishes for the communication between the team and coach Priore to improve and to be more clear on both ends. However, when asked about this year’s season and the team’s chances of improving its record, Allen said he felt that it will ultimately come down to which team wants it more. When the teams are equal in players, talent and potential, it is about the day of the game. Each game comes down to who has the better day and that comes back to Allen’s evaluation of who wants the win more. So hopefully Stony Brook’s team is craving a win every Saturday when the clock starts in Kenneth P. Lavalle Stadium.
This weekend, on April 23rd, Stony Brook athletics is hosting the annual Spring Scrimmage for our football team. At 12pm in the Kenneth P. Lavalle Stadium, the defensive team will verse the offensive team with the fans watching as the coaches prepare their younger players for the next season. That is right: the freshman, sophomores and the juniors will play the majority of the game as a practice before the next season. The seniors will play for about one quarter’s worth of the game and then they will step out and simply offer words of encouragement to the younger group. This is an excellent way to prepare the redshirted freshman for a real season game. This is the closest they get to the mind set of a game, because the fans come to watch and the coaches remain on the sidelines unlike the previous scrimmages they have done over the last month. To be redshirted simply means they did not play their first year at Stony Brook because the coaches felt they could use more time to develop their skills and to learn the details of their positions. We wish you luck Seawolves, or as the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band would say: “Go! Fight! Win!”