For Stan Dakosty Jr., a football coaching career had always been a goal. Of course, the apple didn't fall far from the tree.
The son of highly-successful Marian High mentor Stan Dakosty Sr., Stan Jr. was recently promoted to a fulltime job as defensive backs coach at Colgate University, N.Y.
"College coaching is a great profession," said Dakosty, 27, who was a graduate assistant for the Raiders and worked with the tight ends and fullbacks there for the last three seasons. "I think the biggest goal would be to coach in a great program that allows me to provide for my family and have a good quality of life. I'll see where to profession takes me and look forward to learning more football and becoming a better coach each year."
Dakosty came back to his alma mater from Amherst College. He began is coaching career while an undergraduate at Colgate, serving as a student assistant and assistant video coordinator in 2003, before working with the tight ends in 2004. He played two years for the Raiders, helping them to the 2002 Patriot League championship, before he suffered a series of career-ending injuries. He graduated from Colgate in 2005 with a degree in history and educational studies. Later joining the Amherst staff, he earned a master's degree in education and social studies teacher's certification at the University of Massachusetts in 2006.
During that time, he said, "I learned a lot of football, and now I'm looking forward to getting the experience of coaching on the defensive side of the ball."
As the d-back coach, his responsibilities include daily meetings and preparation with the players. "I have to make sure they understand the coverages, the techniques involved in executing the coverage and also their responsibilities in stopping the run," he said.
Now, however, in the off-season, things are less hectic than what they will be come August. "A typical day in June or July is a lot less hectic then the Fall, Winter, and Spring months," the coach said. "There are a lot of football camps at various colleges that our coaches will work, and on many occasions we will have upcoming seniors visit campus on an unofficial visit to take a look at the school and facilities. We do have vacation time as well, so it is nice to relax and spend time with your family before the season begins."
Being around football his entire life, Dakosty said the game thus far has shaped his career. "I knew going into college and also coming out of college that I wanted to coach football, either at the high school level or college level. After I graduated from Colgate, I was a grad assistant at Amherst and was able to get my masters in secondary education. I wanted to make sure that I had the option to become a high school teacher/coach or stick with the college coaching. I've been fortunate to have had great experiences at the college level and will continue to see where it takes me."
Of course, he'll be the first to tell anyone that following his father's lead is something special to him. "I have the best blueprint for how to be a successful coach, mentor and father," Stan Jr. said. "If I have any questions on anything, he's the first person I call. He always has great advice. It is really hard to put into words what he means to me, but for how good a coach he is, it doesn't compare to how good of a father he is."
Then, too, Dakosty said his mother, Mary, has been equally influential on him. "I've said this before, my mom is keeps us in line, she is the best. Football has been a huge part of our family's life and I can't imagine a Fall without talking to my Dad on a Friday before a game, or having my Mom call with half-time score updates, and then seeing them at Colgate on Saturdays."
So, what does a son college coach say to his father, the high school mentor? "I do speak to him professionally. He does a great job of getting his players ready to compete at the next level, so if his players have the talent, there will be many college coaches coming by to check them out. He is one of the biggest advocates of coal region football, so if there is any potential prospect out there, he will let me know about them and also make all the other college coaches aware of the local talent when they come through Marian."
The recruiting process, Stan Jr. said, "is as important as anything a coach does in the profession." His responsibilities include Eastern and Central Pa., as well as Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina. "I've been lucky to have Eastern Pa. as my recruiting area," he said. "Besides the fact that it is great football, I'm obviously extremely familiar with the area, the schools, and have known a lot of the coaches for many years.
"Developing relationships with the coaches is one the best parts about recruiting. I have the utmost respect for the coaches and what they do and it is great to sit down and talk with them because I am still new to the coaching world and I can learn a lot from their experiences."
A close friend of former Northern Lehigh Coach Jim Tkach, Stan Jr. pointed out the longtime family friend "has been a huge mentor for me since I began coaching." He elaborated, "He (Tkach) has taught me a lot about coaching and having respect for the game and the young men who play it."
A self-proclaimed "coal region guy," the Colgate assistant added, "Growing up in the area plays a huge role. I know many of the players' names and I know some of the parents as well. It easy for me to relate to the recruits because I understand what it is like playing on Friday nights in the area and I know how exciting and important it is to the players to play and win for their schools."
He said recruiting for Colgate "is great because it is one of the best schools in the country and it has a great football tradition." Academic challenges though often present difficulties for him. He said, "It becomes difficult when you have to find the right student-athlete that fits the academic standards for admissions into Colgate and also the ability to compete at a very high level of football. It takes a special young man to excel in the classroom and on the field at the collegiate level and it is exciting to try and find the student-athletes that are a great fit for Colgate."
Challenges notwithstanding, Dakosty noted, "It's great to see your players develop on and off the field from their freshmen year until the time they graduate. The success of my job from year to year depends on 11 Saturdays in the Fall, but that is what makes it exciting."