Gene Tundo, Orchard Park high school head football coach has been named the Buffalo Bills & National Guard H.S. Football Coach of the Week #10 after his Quakers beat Jamestown 30-10 to win the Section VI Class AA championship at Ralph Wilson Stadium last week.
"I feel very lucky to be coaching with all the rest of the coaches in the Buffalo area," Tundo said. "They are a great group of guys and a great group of coaches."
This is Orchard Park's 10th Section VI title, more than any other school in Western New York. Tundo has been on the sidelines for all of them.
"They are all special," Tundo said. "This is a whole different group of kids from the last time we won. I think it's great for our whole community."
Tundo has led the Quakers to 'The Ralph' 13 times in his 17 years as OP's head coach. This season, the Quakers were the favorite to win the Class AA title almost from the first practice in August. They went through the schedule almost unchallenged with most games over before the halftime break.
"I wasn't really sure where we were as a team," Tundo said. "We've been playing pretty well. I knew we were a pretty good team but we hadn't faced some really tough competition in a while."
Jamestown had given Orchard Park the toughest game of the season and the Red Raiders were determined to give the heavily-favored Quakers stiff competition in the championship game.
"Jamestown has a bunch of tough kids," Tundo said. "It was good to play a team of Jamestown's caliber because I think they really pushed us."
Orchard Park led just 10-3 at the half, the closest an opponent was all season.
"They were coming after us," Tundo said. "I think our kids stepped up to the test."
Orchard Park lost the 2010 title game to Clarence on a last-second field goal. With 30 players returning this season, the Quakers were determined not to let another title slip away.
"We didn't do a whole lot of talking about last year's game," Tundo said. "Jamestown was going to come after us. They were greatly improved from the last time we played them and we really needed to focus."
Tundo was a three-sport star at Frontier High School. He graduated in 1975.
He started at WR and CB for the football team and was named a Division I All-Star. He also placed second in the New York State wrestling tournament.
He attended the University at Buffalo, where he wrestled for four years.
"I loved playing football," Tundo said, "but I went to UB on a wrestling scholarship. I would have loved to play college football but it just didn't work out."
While he was at UB, Tundo also finished second in the SUNY Tournament. After graduating from UB, Tundo coached wrestling in 1978 and 1979 at Lackawanna High School. He was hired as a substitute teacher at Orchard Park in 1980.
"I was a hall monitor for two years," Tundo said. "Then I started subbing. I knew the football coach and he hired me as an assistant."
It wasn't long before Tundo began his head coaching career... though not in football.
"At the end of my first year, the school needed a wrestling coach so they asked me to do it," he said. "After the wrestling season, they needed a lacrosse coach, so they asked me to do that sport, too."
Amazingly, Tundo knew nothing about lacrosse.
"I never even saw a game of lacrosse in my whole life," he said. "I had no idea what I was doing."
Tundo learned quickly. He now has 483 wins in lacrosse, 150 wins and 10 Section 6 titles in football. His record in wrestling is an astounding 126-8-3, making him one of the few coaches in new York State history with more than 100 wins in three different sports.
Each week during the 11-week high school football season a committee appointed by the Buffalo Bills will select a high school football head coach as the Buffalo Bills & National Guard Coach of the Week. Each honoree will receive a $2,000 donation to their high school football program from the Buffalo Bills Youth Foundation and New York National Guard. The eleven finalists are also eligible for the Buffalo Bills & National Guard High School Coach of the Year Award where an additional $2,000 grant for their high school's football program will be given.
As a result of Tundo being named the week ten Buffalo Bills & National Guard High School Coach of the Week winner, the Quakers football program will be given the $2,000 awarded by the Bills and the New York National Guard.
Bills & National Guard Coach of the Week Winners:
Week 1: Steve McDuffie, Bennett Tigers
Week 2: John Faller, Sweet Home Panthers
Week 3: Dennis Gilbert, St. Joe's Marauders
Week 4: Jason Marsh, Salamanca Warriors
Week 5: Dick Diminuco, Alden Bulldogs
Week 6: Rick Tomm, North Tonawanda Lumberjacks
Week 7: Kraig Kurzanski, Williamsville South Billies
Week 8: Rich Harris, Kenmore West Blue Devils
Week 9: Jay Sirianni, Southwestern Trojans
Week 10: Gene Tundo, Orchard Park Quakers