Lake Central hires new head football coach

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Mr. Tony Bartolomeo, Science, was officially named head football coach of the Indians on Tuesday, Dec. 21.

Stefan Krajisnik

Following the resignation of Mr. Brett St. Germain as head football coach, speculation spread as to who would be filling to void. After over a month’s worth of interviewing, principal Mr. Sean Begley announced today that Mr. Tony Bartolomeo, Science, would be taking over.

Bartolomeo was named head coach after his short tenure as interim head coach for the Indians in the middle of the 2016 season. Most returning players understand the expectations set by “Coach Bart,” and it all starts with effort.

“The fans, the parents, the coaches, the teachers, and the kids can expect we’re going to work as hard as they we can because we can control that. We’re going to try to outwork everybody, that’s a controllable thing,” Bartolomeo said.

“We’re going to play with a lot of pride. We’re going to play extremely hard. I think one thing that you saw with our team this year was that regardless of the outcome or how the game played out, our team played with a lot of emotion, and they played extremely hard, as far as effort. At the end of the day, that’s all you can ask kids to do.”

Prior to coaching at Lake Central, Bartolomeo spent nine seasons running the offense at Merrillville High School and Munster High School. Despite the strong offensive resume, Bartolomeo feels confident that with the help of his staff the team can be just as successful in the other phases of the game.

“You can expect our defense to be aggressive. You can expect our defense to really attack, and really I just want them to be sound in their assignment, similar to our defense last year. I have to have competent people in charge of the defense. I have to let them take care of it. That’s the part that there has to be trust. At a school this big, it’s really not possible to do the offense, the defense and the special teams, but it’s possible to hire proper people and say ‘Here’s some things I want to see with the defense. Other than that it’s your show and I support what you do.’ That’s how you’re going to get the most growth out of people, by letting them be accountable, letting them get their hands on it and grow,” Bartolomeo said.

Key players such as quarterback Zachary Bundalo (10) and linebacker Jackson Long (11) will be cornerstones to the process of getting the football back to its peak shape. Along with them, recruiting new players from the high school and middle schools will be key to helping the process.

“Other than getting going right now, our main goal is to get more kids playing football in Lake Central School Corporation. From not only here, but to the lower level. I think my primary focus is to get more kids playing football,” Bartolomeo said. “The best way to get kids to do anything is to build relationships and have them be a part of something that they enjoy. The problem is getting them there. Once kids get to football, it’s without due that they always look and think; ‘This is the greatest thing I’ve ever been a part of. I love this so much I wish this would’ve happened to me earlier. I wish somebody would have told me.’ Well, we have to make more connections with kids and get them playing, and continue the kids that play to progress and feel good about where they’re at in the program.”

Mr. Tony Bartolomeo, Science, was officially named head football coach of the Indians on Tuesday, Dec. 21.
Mr. Tony Bartolomeo, Science, was officially named head football coach of the Indians on Tuesday, Dec. 21.

The offseason has already started for the team with weightlifting and conditioning. Bartolomeo will continue the job of the offensive coordinator while also holding the title of head coach.