Coach was a hit on gridiron, in community
Coach John Siedlecki is one of the most respected and top-rated coaches that have come through the Johnstown Sir Bills football program.
Coach Siedlecki coached in the 1950s and the early '60s, when Johnstown football was the "big thing" in the area. Coach Siedlecki stepped down in 1962 after 16 years as Johnstown's head coach and a couple undefeated seasons. He was also a World War II veteran.
Coach Siedlecki was affiliated with the Greater Johnstown School District besides just being a coach. Coach Siedlecki taught math in Johnstown for a number of years.
After stepping down as head coach, Coach Siedlecki became principal of Johnstown High School for eight years.
Following his retirement as Johnstown's principal in 1970, Coach Siedlecki taught math for one more year at Knox Junior High School.
Coach Siedlecki had a better overall football record than any other previous or future coach at Johnstown High School. His record was well over .500.
As coach, Coach Siedlecki was very demanding.
"He was a task master, and he wasn't the kind of guy you would give attitude to," said Principal Mr. Beatty. "He was well-liked and well-trusted by everyone in the community."
Coach Siedlecki had a day dedicated to him in 1962, called "Siedlecki Day." Siedlecki Day took place at St. Anthony's Hall, and more than 500 people attended. Some gifts that Coach Siedlecki received were leather gloves, a leather jacket and a photograph album. The biggest gift of the day, however, was a brand new, 1962 Dodge Dart given by the community.
One of the guest speakers was All-Pro New York Giants defensive tackle Dick Modzelewski or "Little Mo."
"I am proud to be a citizen of Johnstown" said Coach Siedlecki at the ceremony, according to an old newspaper article.
Jack Siedlecki is the son of Coach Siedlecki. Jack graduated from Johnstown High School and was a star running back for the football team, pitcher on the baseball team and point guard on the basketball team. He then went on to Union College to get his Bachelor of Arts degree and also play football and baseball.
Jack was an assistant football coach for UAlbany, Wagner and Lafayette. In 1996, Jack was hired as the head football coach for Yale University.
Jack was named the New England Sports Writer's 1999 Coach of the Year for leading the school's turnaround and Coach of the Year in 2007. In 2006, he won the Ivy League championship, and he retired from Yale in November 2008.