- Stephen Freker, Medford Daily Mercury
After three seasons and three games, Rico Dello Iacono and the Medford High School football program are parting ways.
Medford Public Schools athletic director Bob Maloney last night confirmed that fourth-year Medford High head varsity football coach Dello Iacono was no longer leading the Mustang program as of yesterday afternoon.
Medford High assistant coach Jason Nascimento has been appointed interim head coach and will lead the Mustang football fortunes for the remainder of the this 2012 season, Maloney told the Medford Daily Mercury and Malden Evening News last night.
All of the other Medford High football assistant coaches are remaining in place and additional coaches may be added to the staff, Maloney said.
“The administration thought it was time for a change,” Maloney said, pointing out that he, Medford Public Schools Superintendent Roy Belson and MHS Headmaster Dr. John Perella had conferred and concurred in this matter.
Maloney said last night “it was an emotional day.” He said Coach Dello Iacono met with the team on the practice field after school yesterday and informed them of his departure.
“We are all concerned most about the players and their well-being. We made it clear to them that they will get support from the administration and the coaches staying on to get through this,” Maloney said.
Dello Iacono, a former eight-year Everett High assistant coach who played at Merrimack College and was a standout Crimson Tide lineman before that, was appointed in the spring of 2009 to take over a program that was in a tailspin, coming off a winless, 0-11 campaign and no winning seasons for well over a decade.
Unfortuntely it did not get much better as over the three-plus seasons at the helm, Dello Iacono’s teams have gone 6-27 overall.
Medford High posted a 5-5 record in Dello Iacono’s first campaign, just missing a win on Thanksgiving Day that would have made it the first winning record for Mustang football since the 1990s.
The bright hopes from the 2009 season dimmed in the 2010 and 2011 campaigns as Medford High went 1-9 in 2010 and was again winless in 2011, losing its last five games in shutout fashion.
With an 0-3 start this season, surrendering over 30 points on average per loss, it was another dismal start.
“It’s not just the wins and losses that were seen as an issue,” Maloney said, “as a football program we have not seen a consistently competitive performance.
“The product on the field has not lived up the investment we have put into our football program,” he said.
Nascimento Named Interim Head Coach
Along with the announcement that Rico Dello Iacono was departing as Medford High head football coach yesterday came the news that Jason Nascimento was named interim head coach.
Nascimento is hardly a stranger to Medford High football, having served as an assistant coach for the past three seasons and having begun his fourth season there.
The former Everett High star receiver and defensive back (Class of 2004) and Tufts University standout is a fourth-year teacher in the Medford Public Schools.
“We are confident that Jason Nascimento can lead this team for the remainder of the season, he’s in the building as a teacher and he has shown leadership skills,” Medford Public Schools athletic director Bob Maloney said yesterday.
Coach Nascimento last night said he was aware of the challenge that awaited and ready to get right to work.
“(The change) came as a surprise, but once the kids were told, it is now time to help them move forward,” Coach Nascimento told the Medford Daily Mercury and Malden Evening News last night. “I told the kids yesterday the most important thing is to stick together. We have each other to lean on and we have an immediate goal right in front of us. getting ready to beat Dedham Friday night.
“I’m sure it’ll be tough week and there will be a lot of adversity, but that’s what life and this sport are all about,” Coach Nascimento said. “We have to get the kids excited to move forward and go after some big goals.”
Nascimento said he was grateful for the opportunity he was given by former Coach Dello Iacono four years ago when he was hired for the Medford staff.
“I think the world of Coach Dello Iaccono and appreciate being able to coach with him these past four years. As he was leaving the field yesterday he said to me, ‘You go help these kids get a win Friday night,’” Nascimento said.