Guilford assistant coach Tony Capriotti named Guilford’s head football coach

High School Football

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –Guilford is staying in-house with its new head football coach. Assistant coach and math teacher Tony Capriotti has the job.

Capriotti has been at Guilford coaching and teaching since 2012. He learned Wednesday afternoon that he was the choice to succeed Denny Diduch.

“I’ve been working here a long time, and I’m very fortunate. I love being here, but there was a lot of great candidates that applied and just to have the opportunity to get this was awesome!”

Capriotti grew up in Bourbonnais, the same place the Bears held training camp for so many years. He played offensive and defensive line at Bishop McNamara under legendary coach Rich Zinnani. Zinnani’s teams have won five state championships.

From there Capriotti played college football at Rockford University under Patrick Babcock. He graduated in 2011 and spent a year there as an assistant coach before moving on to Guilford.

At Guilford He has coached under Mel Gilfillan, Bruce Bazsali and Denny Diduch. 

“What I’ve learned from Mel to Bruce to Denny that no matter what you want to do you’ve got to get the best 11 players out there, so that’s the first thing we’re going to talk about is who are our best 11 guys?”

Guilford was almost exclusively a running team under Diduch. Capriotti would like to see that change.

“Personally I’d love to be more balanced. I want everybody to defend the entire width and depth of the field. How we get there I’m not sure yet.”

Capriotti will meet formally with his players next week. His main message to them will be that the football program is about them.

“As a coaching staff and as a high school we’re going to be totally invested in you and your development and this is going to be a player-centered program. We want you to be the best that you can be, because if you’re that then it’s going to help us here at Guilford.”

Guilford went 2-2 this spring before COVID shortened its season. The Vikings haven’t had a winning season since 2013, but Capriotti doesn’t think the program is far away. Having been at Guilford for a decade, he knows what he’s getting into, and he knows the kids and people at Guilford.

“I know the kids, and I really believe in what they can do. We’ve got a lot of teachers here and coaches here that really care and to me that’s the most important thing. I think we’re on the verge of something that can be pretty good, pretty quick.”

The board of education still has to approve hiring Capriotti for the job of head football coach.

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