MAHOPAC, N.Y. – Athletic Director Frank Miele retired from Mahopac about a decade ago, and immediately got to work.
Miele, who’s often said he bleeds “blue and gold,” graduated from Mahopac High School in 1967 and then worked 39 years for the district in various roles: physical education teacher, assistant principal, football coach, baseball coach, and athletic director.
He said goodbye to Mahopac in 2011, but retirement didn’t suit him. From then until 2019, Miele had interim athletic director stints at Harrison and Eastchester, was a baseball coach at Western Connecticut State University, and briefly returned to Mahopac as an assistant principal.
“I wasn’t ever really retired for the last nine years between doing a couple of interim things,” Miele said.
After the resignation of Athletic Director John Augusta last summer, Mahopac once again called on Miele to serve, this time as interim athletic director.
“How anybody at my age could have something dropped in their lap after doing something for 39 years prior,” the 70-year-old Miele said, “it was like the cherry on top of an ice-cream sundae. It was awesome. The kids were great. Our coaches were awesome. It seemed like I had never left.”
But now, with his 40th year at Mahopac nearly over, Miele is ready to retire again—for good this time.
“It was always the plan in my head,” Miele said. “Right from the start, I said it would be a one-year deal. I was asked numerous times from parents and groups about staying, but my answer was always the same. I really feel fortunate that people asked me to come back. I must have something to offer.”
Even with the coronavirus wiping out the spring sports season, Miele isn’t leaving Mahopac with a bitter taste in his mouth.
“I personally think it was the greatest year I had,” Miele said. “Maybe it was just because I appreciate things more. If I was a lot younger, I would have stayed. But it was time.”
The 2019-20 sports year is effectively in the books, but Miele will serve as Mahopac’s athletic director until June 30, when the school year ends.
“If anybody knows anything about me, I put the time in every day until I’m done,” Miele said. “If I’m done June 30, they’re getting my effort until June 30.”
Much of his time these next several weeks will be spent showing the ropes to his successor, Stephen Luciana, whose tenure as athletic director begins July 1. The outgoing Pelham athletic director was unanimously appointed to the same position in Mahopac on Wednesday, May 6, by the Board of Education. He will earn $160,000 per year for four years.
In a press release, the Mahopac school district boasted about Luciana’s accomplishments at Pelham, which includes increasing the number of athletic teams, creating a student-athlete committee, and helping to make capital improvements to athletic facilities.
“We’re excited to have him,” said Anthony DiCarlo, superintendent of schools, at the May 6 school board meeting. “He’s going to be at Mahopac for a number of years and, yes, he will be bleeding blue and gold.”
Before arriving at Pelham seven years ago, Luciana was the athletic director of Yonkers Public Schools and taught physical education at Greenburgh Eleven and P.S. 32 in the Bronx. He has also held various coaching positions in football, baseball, basketball, and lacrosse in Ardsley and Chester.
He has a bachelor’s degree in physical education from SUNY Cortland and a master’s degree in school administration Mercy College.
“I am honored and humbled to join a team of administrators that fosters such a high standard of student achievement and pride,” Luciana said in a statement. “I would like to thank the Board of Education for entrusting [me] with the highly respected athletic programs of the Mahopac Central School District. I am eager to begin our partnership and bring my dedication and experience in fostering academic and athletic excellence to the Mahopac community.”
Miele said the athletic program is in good hands.
“I think the board picked the right person. He’s a hard worker. He has some of the same philosophies I do,” Miele said. “The way I feel today, at my age, I hope 20 years from now Steve feels the same way and says the same things about the community.”
The veteran athletic director made a few coaching changes during his one year back at Mahopac. New hires included Jon Bota (boys lacrosse) and Tom McMahon (basketball). Miele is also excited about having a third turf field at Mahopac.
“It feels like there’s this rumbling, like Mahopac sports are going to blossom once again,” Miele said. “I can’t explain it, but it feels like we’re ready to explode.
“I live my life having no regrets, Miele continued. “When I leave, I’ll look back and said I did the best job that I could, so I don’t have those regrets. I feel good that we really laid the foundation. We’re in a good place right now with Mahopac athletics.”
“Frank provided us with steady, reliable leadership just when we needed it most, “DiCarlo said. “He re-established the connections among our athletic department, student athletes, coaches, and community which have positioned us well for the next chapter in Mahopac athletics. His legacy in Mahopac will live on forever. I cannot thank him enough.”
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