The Buffalo Bills and ADPRO Sports announced coaches of the week for the Buffalo and Rochester regions for Week 9. Each coach will receive $1,000 for their programs and were selected because of their commitment to both their teams and their surrounding communities. The Coach of the Year for each region will be announced during the Week 17 game against the New England Patriots.
Buffalo Region Coach of the Week
Tim Racey of the Starpoint Spartans is the coach of the week for the Buffalo region. Racey has been on the coaching staff at Starpoint since 1998 and was named the program's head coach in the fall of 2019. Last season, Racey led Starpoint to the Chuck Funke Bowl tournament championship and won the A-2 Division championship this fall.
Starpoint is coming off of a 16-14 win over Williamsville North in the first round of the Class A playoffs. A highlight of the game came when quarterback Mike Grady hit Evan Floss with a 77-yard touchdown pass to give the Spartans a more comfortable lead.
Defender Lucas Lombardo finished the game with 17 tackles and six sacks as the Spartans moved past the first round of the playoffs.
Racey's coaching philosophy is centered around coaching players as if they are the coaching staffs' own family. They spend time talking about life skills to make sure that the athletes are not only prepared for their lives on the field, but off of it as well. Starpoint was named as a NYS Scholar-Athlete team this year with 25 players with an academic average of 90 or above.
Racey's favorite football memory was working as an assistant coach on the Starpoint team that made the Section 6 Class A title game, where they lost to Bennet at Highmark Stadium in 2016.
Rochester Region Coach of the Week
Steve Lian of the Brighton Bruins is the Rochester region coach of the week after defeating Irondequoit 15-13 in the first round of the Class A playoffs. The Bruins were down 13-12 with 6 minutes remaining in the game before they got the ball on their own 5-yard line. They drove downfield and backup kicker Grady Hopkin scored a 43-yard game-winning field goal. The defense held strong after taking the lead, ending the game with a quarterback sack to secure the victory.
Lian was an assistant coach at Pittsford for 10 seasons while teaching 6th grade math at Brighton. He moved to the Brighton program in 2009 and was named the head coach before the 2011 season. Lian's 61-45 record at Brighton is the best in school history. He has led Brighton to a pair of Division titles and made it to the Section 5 title game in 2016 and 2021.
Lian is focused on building a family atmosphere amongst his players and his coaching staff does whatever it can to help his players land in a good spot after graduating, whether or not college football is in their futures.
Before each home game, the Brighton players choose a local charity to support. So far this season, they have helped the Brighton Food Cupboard, the Rochester Breast Cancer Coalition and the Saint's Place Charity. The team also works with Prime Time 585 to help with the Adopt-a-Family program for Thanksgiving.
Lian's favorite football memory has been spending time watching his sons play the sport. His oldest son Jayden is a junior on this year's team and his younger son Connor is a third grader who plays for the Brighton Jr. Bears.