Dunmore’s Vic Fangio Named New Head Coach of Denver Broncos

By Steve Svetovich

Patience and long hours of hard work pay off. Dunmore’s Victor Fangio, 60, is living proof. And for the 1976 Dunmore High School graduate it took 40 years.

That’s 40 years of coaching experience that finally took him to the top of the helm.

Son of Alice and the late Victor, Sr., Fangio, the former Dunmore High School safety-wide receiver was named head football coach of the NFL Denver Broncos last month (January 10).

His mom, the former Alice Kozlowski, 92 and very spry, continues to reside in Dunmore. And her reaction?

“Well, I was thrilled for him,” she said. “He was finally recognized. He can do the job. And the Denver Broncos recognize it.”

Fangio, who played football at Dunmore under the legendary Jack Henzes, is known as a man of stature but of few words.

So it is not surprising to hear how he provided the news to his mom. “He called me after the word got out,” she said. “He said he got the appointment. And that was about it. He does not show any emotion. He is not that type.

“A lot of people in Dunmore called with their congratulations.

“I am just sorry his father was not here to see this. It has been a long road.”

The mother of the new Denver Broncos head football coach has four sons, one daughter, 20 grandchildren and two on the way.

One of Fangio’s brothers, Tony, is retired and lives in Colorado Springs just one hour from Denver, Colorado. “He will be close enough to see Vic a lot. I hope to get there to a game myself during the warmer weather.”

Fangio returns to Dunmore occasionally in the off season and gathers with friends often at Ragnacci’s Restaurant in the borough, said his mom.

“His friends are proud of him. He has many of the same friends he always had in Dunmore. I am getting a lot of calls from them.”

Former Dunmore Councilman Paul Nardozzi roots for the New York Giants, but is a huge football fan who knows Fangio and follows his career. “I’ve known him for many years and he is so deserving of that position,” he said. “It took a lot of years of hard work and perserverance. Being from Dunmore, he truly displays Dunmore pride. I am very happy for Vic.”

bucksAfter playing football and graduating from Dunmore in 1976, Fangio was a defensive coordinator and linebackers coach under Henzes at his alma mater from 1979 to 1981.

He took on a position as defensive coordinator at Milford Academy in Connecticut in 1982.

In 1984, he was defensive assistant for the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars of the USFL.

He received a big break in the NFL coaching ranks when he was named linebackers coach for the New Orleans Saints in 1986, holding the position through 1994.

He was the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator from 1995 to 1998.

Fangio was the Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator from 1999 to 2001.

He became the Houston Texans defensive coordinator from 2002 to 2005.

Fangio became special assistant to the head coach and defensive assistant for the Baltimore Ravens from 2006 to 2008.

He became the Ravens linebackers coach in 2009.

He became defensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford University in 2010.

He followed Harbaugh to the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 when Harbaugh became head coach there. Fangio served as defensive coordinator under Harbaugh from 2011 to 2014.

The 49ers under the coaching of Harbaugh and Fangio, led the NFL in forced turnovers (36) in 2011.

Vic Fangio with BearsFangio was released from his contract shortly after Harbaugh was let go by the 49ers in January of 2015.

Fangio then took over as defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 2015 to 2018.

Fangio’s coaching helped the Bears lead the NFL in forced turnovers and interceptions this past year. The Bears were second defensively in yards per play, first in scoring defense and third in total defense.

Fangio, who was interviewed last year for the Bears head coaching position, received much of the credit for Chicago’s defensive resurgence this past season.

He was honored last month by the Pro Football Writers Association as the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.

And now off to Denver as he continues making his mom and Dunmore proud.

Road to Recovery: Bucks’ Coach Jack Henzes Looks to Return

CoachHenzes

Photo Credit: Rich Banick Photography

By Steve Svetovich

He has molded over a thousand high school football players into men in a little over a half century of coaching football.

Recovering from heart valve surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City last month, Dunmore legendary football coach Jack Henzes, entering his 52nd season as a head coach, has no timetable for a return.

But the plan is to most definitely come back.

He is not retiring by any means.

Henzes, 82, has a 435-160-8, career coaching record at Wyoming Area (1966-1969) and Dunmore (1971-present).

He is second in the state in career wins to the late George Curry’s 455 total accumulated at Lake Lehman and Berwick.

Prior to Dunmore’s opening night 31-0 loss to Scranton Prep this season, Henzes led the Bucks to 29 regular season wins in a row. Dunmore is the defending District 2 Class 2A champion. Henzes has led Dunmore to four straight district titles.

Dunmore tied a school record with 14 wins last season advancing to the PIAA Class 2A semifinals.

Henzes graduated from Blakely High School in 1954. He was a star football and baseball player at his alma mater.

He graduated from George Washington University in 1958 with a B.S. in Education.

The coaching icon has taught driver’s education for the past 55 years and plans on continuing when his health permits.

He is married to the former Roseann Anastasio.

The couple has five adult children: Kim, Jack, Brandy, Melissa and Wendy.

Jack HenzesHenzes has led Dunmore to 10 district titles, the first coming in 1995 with a win over his former team, Wyoming Area.

He led Dunmore to its first Eastern Conference Class A title in 1985. Dunmore finished 13-0, becoming the first Big 11 team with 13 wins.

His biggest coaching thrill?

“Seeing all my players move on and be a success in life. Watching my players go out and doing the things necessary in life to become good men. Winning is secondary to watching them become great human beings in life.”

Coach Henzes said he is feeling better each day and the recuperation process is slow.

“The plan is to get back to coaching and the classroom. I will be back. That is the plan.

“I want to do this as long as God allows.”

His future goals are simple. “Just to make sure to teach our players to become good young men and to educate these young students. Again, the winning will come but it is secondary.”

The highly respected Dunmore coach was an assistant under his dad, the late great Papa Bear Henzes, from 1960 through 1965 at Blakely High School.

Henzes, the 16th coach to 400 wins, earned his first head coaching win for Wyoming Area over GAR, 21-6, in 1966. Ironically, he lost his first game as a head coach to Dunmore, 27-13. He led Wyoming Area to a 7-4 record in 1966.

Henzes had a 30-12 coaching record at Wyoming Area before taking the reign at Dunmore in 1971.

henzesHis first Dunmore win came over Tunkhannock, 19-7, in 1971. He led the Bucks to a 7-3 record that year.

Henzes led Dunmore to the first of three straight conference titles in 1973 before losing in the Eastern Conference final, 15-6, to Mount Carmel.

He led Dunmore to its third straight Big 11 title in 1975. Dunmore was 10-1 in the conference.

Dunmore won its fourth Big 11 title in 1978, losing to GAR, 27-21, in the Eastern Conference title game.

Henzes earned his 100th career win in 1980 with Dunmore’s win over Lackawanna Trail, 19-8.

Henzes led Dunmore to its first Eastern Conference Class A title in 1985 with a perfect 13-0 record.

In 1989, Dunmore finished 13-1. The team’s only loss came at the hands of Curry and his Berwick team, 6-0, in the Eastern Conference final.

Henzes earned his 200th career win in 1993 with Dunmore’s 35-7 win over Abington.

Dunmore finished 7-1, to tie with Scranton Prep for the Big 11 title.

In 1995, Dunmore won its first District 2 Class AA title, defeating Wyoming Area. Henzes fell ill towards the end of the season and was unable to coach from the sidelines for a few games.

In 1999, Dunmore finished 12-1 and earned the District 2 Class AA title before losing to Mount Carmel in the state playoffs.

Henzes earned a milestone 252nd win, 42-6 over Scranton Prep, passing his dad on the all-time list, in 2000.

In 2006, Henzes led Dunmore to the first of three consecutive District 2 Class AA titles. Dunmore set a record with 14 wins, but lost in the state final.

bucksIn 2012, coach Henzes led Dunmore to 14 wins and a District 2 title before losing to Clairton in the state final.

Henzes led the Bucks to 14 straight wins and a District 2 Class AA title in 2014 before losing the PIAA final.

Henzes achieved a major milestone Oct. 2, 2015, with his 400th career win, 46-0, over Carbondale Area. He celebrated with his players and grandchildren on the field.

He has led Dunmore to district titles in each of the past four years.

“The plan is for him to return to coaching at Dunmore,” his son Jack, Jr. said. “Right now he is focusing on his recuperation. There are good days and bad days, but the main thing is that he is getting better with each passing day.”

His former players have one standard comment about Henzes:

“He taught me not just football, but about life. He made me into a man.”

Gatto Rebuilding Football Program in Second Year at Holy Cross

Dave GattoBy Steve Svetovich

Dave Gatto is in his second season as football coach at Holy Cross High School and is already making an impact.

The Crusaders won their first game of this season, 14-12, over Holy Redeemer, Saturday, August 25.

It was the Crusaders first win since Oct. 10, 2015, and snapped a 25-game losing streak.

“It was a big win,” said coach Gatto. “We are drastically better this season. It is time for our program to start winning. We believe in ourselves.”

Gatto took over as football coach at Holy Cross in 2017. He was previously an assistant football coach at Holy Cross for four years under Josh Watters and Jeff Stevens.

The hard-working Gatto graduated from Dunmore High School in 1980. He played four years of football under the legendary Jack Henzes. He was a fullback and strong safety in his senior year.

Gatto also played four years of baseball and two years of basketball at Dunmore. He was a catcher in baseball and a guard in basketball.

holy crossHe went on to earn a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Scranton in 1984 and worked as a supervisor in the transportation industry for 25 years.

Not only did Gatto learn plenty about football and life as a player under Jack Henzes for four years, but he continued to learn as an assistant coach under the Dunmore icon from 1983 through 1989.

“I learned a lot under Coach Henzes both during my time under him as a player and as an assistant coach. He is a great man and I wish him a speedy recovery from his present heart ailment. I am sure he wants to get back coaching and on the sidelines.

“But one of the things about Coach Henzes is that he teaches you even more about life than about football.”

Gatto is married to the former Lisa Monahan. The couple has three children: Alayna, 24, Eric, 22, and Jacob, 17. Jacob, a senior, plays football for his dad at Holy Cross.

Gatto said his team worked hard training and weight lifting in the off season.

“Our goal is to keep getting better and better as a team and to keep winning football games.”

JVfootballGatto, who currently works in the maintenance department at Holy Cross, said he is looking forward to the challenges his team faces this season.

“The kids on this team have been working extremely hard and it is starting to pay off.”

Gatto was a star football player in his four years playing under Henzes.

“That’s where I learned a lot about hard work, life and winning.

“I’m proud to be from Dunmore and looking forward to helping build a solid football program at Holy Cross. We have a great coaching staff, many from Dunmore, and I am enjoying my time here at Holy Cross. We want to keep winning now.

“And we will keep working hard.”