Scagliotta still has it in him to coach
For the past 35 years, his name has been as recognized as anyone in football and basketball circles in the Lehigh Valley.
For the past year, however, Frank Scagliotta quietly has worked behind the scenes, helping the Catasauqua football program regain its respectability.
The veteran, former head football coach and former NCAA basketball official rejoined the staff of Roughies' head coach Phil Dorn last fall as defensive coordinator, unbeknownst to many across the Valley.
Scagliotta, who became a household football name with his stops at Pocono Mountain, Pius X, and Bangor, as well as being a staple as an NCAA basketball official for the better part of 35 years, announced his retirement from the college game last year. He capped his storied career with an appearance in an NCAA Eastern semifinal game at the Meadowlands in 1996.
Two years prior, Scagliotta stepped down as head football coach at Bangor in 2012. He believed his high school coaching career was finally over.
That was until, Dorn asked him to become his defensive coordinator at Pocono Mountain East. "Scags" helped his team gain an Eastern Conference playoff berth.
Last season, Dorn, a Catty native, took over the reins after former head coach Tom Falzone left for Nazareth. It wasn't long after when Dorn made a phone call to his defensive coordinator to join him.
"He has a wealth of football experience and he is a great football coach," said Dorn about Scagliotta. "I was excited when he joined me (at Pocono Mountain East) and I hoped he would come to Catty.
"The players respect him and they have bought into his philosophy."
Scagliotta also didn't take too long to accept.
"When Phil (Dorn) gave me a call to help out at Pocono Mountain East, I said 'sure,' " noted Scagliotta. "We got onto the playoffs and it had been the first time in a while. When he got the Catty job, he called me again about helping out.
"At first, I told him that I had to think about it and to give me a little time. But I know Phil (Dorn) isn't a yeller and screamer, and he can really communicate with the kids. This was going to be different because they had lost a number of players from the previous year.
"But I enjoyed working with him at Pocono (Mountain East), and I knew I still had it in me to coach."
Scagliotta, who pieced together a District 11 Class A titles at Pius in 1995 and 2001, knew coaching again at a small school would be a challenge. Add rebuilding a team ravaged by injuries and the mountain appeared steeper to climb.
Yet, the Roughies managed a 3-3 record at one point, before they ended at 3-8. Scagliotta also senses plenty of positive vibes ahead.
"We had a lot of kids playing both ways and when you get a couple of injuries at a small school, it can be very difficult, " he said. "but these kids never stopped working. They battled through everything.
"Still, I like the kids we have coming back. They have been spending plenty of time in the weight room and they are committed. There are plenty of signs there that we can be competitive this season. The kids are coming on and there are good signs ahead."
In keeping with his other passion, Scagliotta hasn't entirely closed the door on college basketball. The NCAA has appointed him an Eastern Regional Advisor, a capacity in which he will evaluate officials for recommendation for games and tournament games.
Scagliotta again has worked his favorite tandem, but in a different capacity.
"I'll still be going to games and working, but it will be different," he said. "In fact, maybe it will be more work. When I'm coaching football, I get to concentrate on just defense, and I'm not worrying about all the other things a head coach has to think about."
His work became even lighter this summer as he retired from teaching in the Bangor School system in June. Scagliotta does plan to remain as an assistant track coach at Bangor.
Through it all, Scagliotta hasn't set a timetable on his coaching and officiating career.
"I still enjoy it," he said. "My work in refereeing is a good thing. I like the direction of the Catty football program and I'm looking forward to the season."
As another one of his years begins, Scagliotta wouldn't have it any other way.