NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Long-time local high school football coach Tony Napolet passed away Saturday afternoon.
In recent years, Napolet battled various health issues related to diabetes.
Napolet coached in the area for 29 years at both JFK and Niles. He compiled a record of 214-104-3 in his career.
In 1963, Napolet was hired onto Tony Mason’s coaching staff at Niles. Seven years later in 1970, he began his head coaching career at Warren JFK and compiled a 26-2-2 mark over the next three seasons.
Former assistant coach under Napolet, Dennis Zolciak, says “Nap” had great affection for JFK. He says, “You can’t express the love he had for the school to this day. I really believe he’d still be coaching if physically he could.”
After JFK, he accepted the same position at Niles in 1973. After spending six years at the helm of the Red Dragons and a stint at St. Mary’s, he returned to JFK and guided the Eagles to a state championship in 1991.
Current JFK coach Jeff Bayuk had to break the news to the football team before their game Saturday night. “I really think the coaching profession has lost one of its best. (He) had a special charm about him and everybody loved him and the JFK family is really going to miss Coach Napolet.”
Playoff Appearances: (Warren JFK, 12) 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, 1998, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991
State Championships: (Warren JFK, 1) 1991
State Finalist: (Warren JFK, 2) 2006, 1992
In 2013, Napolet was inducted into the Ohio High School Coaches Hall of Fame.