Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gattuso tied to Albany area through Vellano's

ALBANY - Before Greg Gattuso even took the head coaching job at the University at Albany, he had ties to the Capital District.

Gattuso coached Rexford native Joe Vellano, currently a member of the New England Patriots, at the University of Maryland.

“We talk pretty regularly," said Gattuso, who introduced as the successor to Bob Ford, on Wednesday.

Vellano even called his former defensive line coach recently to talk about schemes that the Patriots are using and how he could be more effective in them. 

“What a great kid," Gattuso said of Vellano, who was The Record's 2006 Defensive Player of the Year, when he helped lead Christian Brothers Academy to the Section II Class AA Super Bowl.

Vellano has always been trying to get the advantage and outwork the opponents. On Maryland's tip sheet, Gattuso even wrote in big red letters, "Do not bother Coach Stewart during the game." They called it the Vellano Rule.

Coach Stewart was Defensive Coordinator Brian Stewart and Vellano would try to get his ear about different ways to attack the offense.

Joe Vellano's name is on the facing below Byrd Stadium's upper deck at Maryland, a place where all of the All-Americans are recognized. So is his father, Paul Vellano Sr. According to Maryland, they are the first father-son All-America combo at the same school in ACC history and one of just four known in FBS history (Florida - Lee and Travis McGriff, Georgia - Kevin and Drew Butler, Old Miss - Archie and Eli Manning).

“What a joy," Gattuso said about the entire family.  

Drew Smith, who played at UAlbany and was on the search committee contacted both Vellano and Albany's Dion Lewis, who played for Gattuso at Pitt, as he became one of the five finalists to next lead the Great Danes.

“Vellano couldn’t stop talking about him," said Smith.

Vellano has 47 tackles and one sack for the Patriots this season. When his playing days are over, whenever that may be, he could have a job waiting for him -- maybe even at UAlbany. 

“Joe sees everything," Gattuso said. "Some day when he wants to get into coaching, I’ll be the first one in line."


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