The proposed new coach of Rome Free Academy’s varsity football team is recommended to be Charles “Jake” DerCola, a physical education teacher and head football coach at Notre Dame High School in Utica.
DerCola’s appointment to the RFA football coach position will be considered for approval by the Board of Education at its March 1 meeting, after it was reviewed this morning by the board’s personnel committee.
DerCola is being recommended by a separate committee that interviewed candidates, Rome school district Superintendent Peter C. Blake said today. That committee was headed by school district Athletic Director Michael Stamboly.
If approved by the school board, DerCola would succeed Theodore “Ted” Swavely, who indicated in November that he was resigning after nine years as RFA varsity football coach. The RFA football coach is a part-time position. Swavely’s salary for the position was $6,568. A new coach’s salary would be based on union contract terms and on experience, school district Director of Employee Relations Frank Conestabile has said.
RFA varsity football is heavily followed in the Rome area, and has a long tradition. Its win-loss records generally have declined in recent years; Swavely’s overall record for his nine years was 21-55.
The RFA football program is “very big in the community,” said school board member Timothy Safin, who chairs the board’s personnel committee. He wished DerCola luck if approved for the coaching position, adding that he would have “some big shoes to fill.” Swavely “put a lot of time and effort into the program,” Safin added.
DerCola has been Notre Dame High School football coach for the past four seasons. His win-loss record during that period is 28-10, including winning Section III Class C championships in 2014 and 2015. RFA football is in the Class AA program for larger schools.
A 2008 SUNY Brockport graduate with a degree in physical education, DerCola’s prior positions have included being a Utica College and Hamilton College football assistant. Also among previous positions, he coached lacrosse at New Hartford High School and baseball in Albion and in Clyde.
The RFA football coach opening drew about nine applicants by a Jan. 25 deadline. Four candidates from the greater Rome and Mohawk Valley area were interviewed by the committee, Blake said last week.