Utica names Milazzo head coach; brings 33 years of experience in area to the job
UTICA, N.Y. -- Utica College athletic director David Fontaine named Joe Milazzo head baseball coach Monday. Milazzo, a Whitesboro, N.Y., native, has spent the past 33 years coaching at both the collegiate and high-school levels.
"Joe has an excellent track record of coaching success in the Mohawk Valley and we feel his experience and wealth of baseball knowledge will translate well here at Utica College," Fontaine said. "Joe has an innate ability to instill dignity, discipline and pride in student-athletes and we feel these are the pillars of a successful baseball program."
Milazzo has spent time as a head baseball coach at Notre Dame High School (1981-89), Herkimer County Community College (1990) and Mohawk Valley Community College (1991-2002). From 2002-10 he was the varsity baseball assistant coach at Notre Dame and he has spent the past two seasons at Mohawk Valley Community College as the head softball coach.
"It has always been a goal of mine to coach at a four-year school and this is a very good opportunity for me," Milazzo said. "I'm excited about working with the student-athletes at UC and I can't wait to get started."
During his 12 seasons as the head baseball coach at MVCC he guided the Hawks to nine National Junior College Athletic Association tournament appearances, six Region III Final Four appearances, four Mountain Valley Conference championships, two NJCAA Division III World Series appearances and two Region III championships. He also was a three-time Mountain Valley Conference Coach of the Year selection and a two-time NJCAA Northeast Coach of the Year recipient.
In just one season at HCCC he led the Generals to the program's first NJCAA tournament appearance after participating in the Region III Final Four.
During his first stint at Notre Dame he guided the Jugglers to four Section III championships, three New York State Final Four appearances, three Central Oneida League championships and two Tri-Valley League championships. After returning to Notre Dame in 2002, he helped lead the Jugglers to a New York State Class C championship and a Section III Class B championship in consecutive seasons.
"Coach Milazzo has been around the area and baseball for 30-plus years. He has a great reputation of knowing the baseball community, not just locally, but his reach also expands throughout New York State and we're really excited to have him at Utica College," Fontaine said. "We feel he brings a lot of experience, including coaching at the college level. He's a school teacher, as well, so he understands the nuances of today's student-athlete."
His other baseball experience includes 23 years (1990-present) as a partner, operator and instructor at the Hitting Machine. The Hitting Machine provides baseball and softball clinics, camps and private lessons to players of all ages. He is also the co-director and instructor at the Hitting Machine Baseball Camp, which has been run at several different venues including Utica College, Mohawk Valley Community College and Notre Dame High School.
"I expect that it will be a seamless transition for Coach Milazzo," Fontaine said. "Our coaches will really embrace him as a part of the Utica College family and I see nothing but good things happening for not only Utica College athletics, but also our baseball program moving forward."
From 1994-2003, Milazzo was employed by the New York-Penn League as an administrator. During that time his duties included developing a 76-game schedule for the 14-team league, assigning and supervising seven two-man umpire crews and assisting in day-to-day operations of the league during the season.
Milazzo spent two weeks each summer for seven years (1992-98) as a director and instructor at the Grand Slam Baseball Academy in Montreal, where he guided the 16-18-year-old division.
In 1987, Milazzo founded and directed a college and professional recruiting showcase in the Utica area. For nine years he invited the best high-school prospects to the showcase where they were instructed and evaluated by some of the top collegiate coaches and professional scouts in the country. The featured coaches and scouts included Dave Alexander (Purdue), Pat Murphy (Arizona State), Steve Owens (Bryant), Jim Spartano (Utica), Bill Thurston (Amherst) and George Valesente (Ithaca).
Milazzo graduated from Thomas R. Proctor High School in 1976 before earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education from Cortland State in 1981. He went on to earn his master's degree in special education from The College of St. Rose in 1984.
He is currently a special education teacher at Whitesboro High School, where he has spent the past 28 years. He works in a resource room where he is responsible for teaching learning-disabled high-school students the strategies and skills that will help them to succeed in the high-school setting.
His other work at the high-school level includes three years as the athletic director at Notre Dame (1988-1990).
He began his high-school teaching career as a special education instructor at Thomas R. Proctor (1982-1985), where he taught in a self-contained Adjustment III class. During that time he also taught physical education to college students as an adjunct professor at MVCC.
His professional certifications include New York State Physical Education Permanent Teaching Certification (K-12), as well as a New York State Special Education Permanent Teaching Certification (K-12). He also is an official for the Utica Board of Certified Soccer Officials (1981-present), the New York State Girls Basketball Officials Association (1982-present) and the Utica Board of Certified Softball Umpires (2009-present).
"We will need to spend some time with a philosophy that we have to get across to the student-athletes," said Milazzo of his first steps with the team. "We have to discuss all of the things that we want the student-athletes to accomplish, how we want them to practice and the way we want to play the game, and if we can get them to believe in what we're doing then the winning will be a by-product."