Ron Wilson Named Blue Devil Varsity Football Coach
january 23, 2023
Ron Wilson has been named the head coach of Huntington High School’s varsity football team. The longtime Blue Devil has named Kevin Graham, Antoine Swain and Dareus Smith as his assistants.
Mr. Wilson takes over from veteran Steve Muller, who guided the team through 27 seasons as head coach and won 141 games, including conference championships in 2003, 2005 and 2013 and the Long Island crown in 2005.
Huntington School Board members unanimously approved appointments for Mr. Wilson, his assistants and a group of three J. Taylor Finley Middle School football coaches. Two more high school assistants who will work on the junior varsity level remain to be appointed at a future meeting of the trustees.
“Huntington has a long, storied football history, complete with memorable moments,” Mr. Wilson said. “There have been legendary head coaches who inspired those players to achieve those moments in time. Today, as the football head coach, I am super-excited to move this program forward toward a future where these young folks that we have can write their own chapter in Huntington football history.”
Born, raised, educated and employed here, Ron Wilson is pure Huntington. A member of Huntington High School’s Class of 1994, he participated in a variety of after-school activities including the mentoring program, Student Associates Business Alliance, Black History Day, culture club and athletics.
“I can’t tell you how pleased and honored I am to be back on the gridiron of Huntington’s Blue Devil Stadium,” Mr. Wilson said. “The spirit and enthusiasm that has been extended to myself and my family by student-athletes, community members and administration has been phenomenal. It’s nice to know that you’re supported and your efforts and plan to get this train back rolling is supported as well.”
As a Huntington High School junior, Mr. Wilson would go back to his old elementary school, taking part in read-aloud sessions with sixth graders and discussing with them what would be expected of them in high school. It was through such programs and activities he identified a strong inner desire to work with children.
While studying elementary education at St. John’s University, Mr. Wilson started volunteering with Teacher Opportunity Corps, serving as a mentor and tutor for inner-city at-risk youth. After obtaining a BS degree in May 1998, he began working as a substitute teacher in the Huntington and South Huntington school districts. He earned a master’s degree at Stony Brook University in 2005.
“I want to thank our principal, Brenden Cusack and Superintendent Jim Polansky and members of our school board for entrusting me with this great task that lies ahead,” Mr. Wilson said. “Now I know there’s tremendous expectations of what some people want us to accomplish here in this program. I have even higher expectations as well. Yes, I want to win, too! I want to win every game we play. I’ve never gone into a competition where I didn’t want to win. I just believe that it is important to focus on the process rather than the result. We will take our expectations and bring them into the process of what it takes to be successful in football.”
In October 1998, Mr. Wilson was hired by Tri-Community & Youth Agency to work with the young people that utilize that organization’s facilities and services. He also started volunteering as a coach with the J. Taylor Finley Junior High School football team. Players and their families quickly took a liking to him and he proved to be a highly effective motivator.
Through his connections with young people and their parents, Mr. Wilson saw a need to bridge the gap between Huntington and South Huntington athletes. He turned to Kevin Thorbourne and Crystal White, who have also dedicated themselves to nurturing area youth, collaborating with them to organize a basketball tournament that helped to shatter barriers between the two groups and pave the way for many friendships to be formed.
Mr. Wilson joined the Huntington School District’s full-time faculty in 2001. After working for many years as a second and third grade teacher at Flower Hill School and as a sixth grade teacher at Huntington Elementary School, Mr. Wilson was appointed a dean at Huntington High School.
“My mission is to build and sustain a dynasty here at Huntington football as I have done in Huntington track and field,” Mr. Wilson said. “We will create an atmosphere and environment for everyone to be able to succeed, first as a person and then as a student-athlete in our program. We want our players to be more successful in life because they were involved in our program. I think everybody should take the attitude that we will be working to be a champion and want to be a champion in everything we do. Every choice, every decision, everything that we do will be built around us being a champion, whether its on the field or in the classroom.”
My mission is to build and sustain a dynasty here at Huntington football...We will create an atmosphere and environment for everyone to be able to succeed, first as a person and then as a student-athlete in our program.
Mr. Wilson got his start by volunteering with Finley football coaches Rick Eriksen and Phil Lowe in 1999. He continued to assist the pair during the 2000 season, working with the “C” and “D” squads. “We went undefeated that year with athletes like Charlie Paar, Max Pomper, Eric Posner, Kendall Edwards, Andrew ‘Hammer’ White and Damond Gordon,” he recalled. “The following year, Steve Muller asked me to move up with the group and coach the JV with my longtime friend, Chris Petit. We didn’t go undefeated, but we battled to an incredible 6-2 mark. That was a great year. I am now friends with many of the athletes I coached that year, in addition to coaching alongside one of them now in Andrew White.”
Mr. Wilson has been working with his appointed staff and developing plans for the 2023 season. League placements and schedules are not yet finalized, but when they are, Huntington’s new coach intends to be ready.
“To the fans, supporters, boosters, alumni and everybody that loves and is associated with Huntington football, I thank you wholeheartedly for the unwavering support that has already been extended to me,” Mr. Wilson said. “I want everyone to know that we need a lot of positive energy for this to work. Everyone can take ownership in the fact that they helped make this the best athletic program Huntington has ever had. There have been some great ones down through the years and we wish to keep that tradition of pride and excellence alive. That is the standard we want to work toward and make our football program a part of.”
Mr. Wilson has never forgotten where he came from and he likes to give credit to those who have positively impacted his life.
“I’ve had great mentors and supporters down through the years, including former coaches, Dennis Walker, Mike Gribbin, Steve Henry, Steve Muller, John Paci and Pete Sansiviero, just to name a few,” Mr. Wilson said. “These Huntington giants have helped to shape my coaching and teaching career to be what it is today. I owe Steve Muller and Dennis Walker for hiring me as a volunteer coach to work in their programs back in 1998. They continue to show their support and love for what I do here at Huntington and for that, I am grateful. I will always be indebted to legendary coaches Fred Fusaro and Dave Shanahan at John Glenn, who welcomed me into their family of football years ago.”
Mr. Wilson said his goals for the varsity team and program in general are “simple” and include”
• Be a team. Together everybody can accomplish more.
• Dominate your opponent. Everyone on this team needs to be responsible for their role and what they need to do to be dominant.
• Be a champion. Many of our players have experienced winning before whether in football or other sports. Get back to our winning ways.
• Be a big, physical, aggressive and relentless football team with a competitive spirit for 48 minutes. This will take a lot of conditioning, preparation and a mindset to focus and play for 48 minutes regardless of what the scoreboard says.
If you’d like to support Huntington football, send a message to Mr. Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.