BELLAIRE — Mark Spigarelli fulfilled a life-long dream six years ago when he was hired as the head football coach at Bellaire High School.
That made the decision to step down even tougher.
Spigarelli submitted his letter of resignation to Bellaire High School administration late last month and the decision became public Monday.
“I am just burnt out,” Spigarelli said when asked about his main reasoning. “It was very hard to hand in that letter because of all of the great memories I’ve had coaching football and specifically coaching football at Bellaire High School.”
Spigarelli took over the Big Reds program that had hired three coaches since highly successful head coach John Magistro retired following the 2006 season. None of those three was the head coach longer than five seasons.
During Spigarelli’s tenure, the Big Reds posted a 39-26 record and took part in the playoffs five times, winning three tournament games.
“I have to thank, first and foremost, all of the players who played for me and gave up their time and put in all of the hard work we asked of them on the field and in the weight room during the offseason,” Spigarelli said.
The Big Reds posted their most successful season of the Spigarelli era this past fall when they finished 9-1, claimed the OVAC Class 3A title and advanced to the regional quarterfinal before falling at Garrettsville Garfield. During the season, Bellaire defeated arch rival Martins Ferry to bring SPARKY back to the All-American Town for just the second time since 2012.
Many of the key cogs from this past season’s team are expected to return in 2022.
“There is a great nucleus of guys coming back and they’ve already been working hard in the weight room,” Spigarelli said. “They’re all highly dedicated kids, which is what Bellaire football has been all about. On top of the great kids coming back from last year, there are good, athletic and dedicated kids coming up through the younger grades, too.”
On top of his players, Spigarelli offered sincere thanks to his assistant coaches and school administrators throughout the years.
Along with his duties as football coach, Spigarelli also served Bellaire High School as the head baseball coach for a handful of seasons and he was also a basketball assistant coach.
Prior to becoming the head coach at his alma mater, Spigarelli coached a couple of seasons at West Liberty University.
“I think I’ve coached football for 30 of the last 33 years,” Spigarelli said. “I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of great kids during that time and one of the main reasons I went into education was to be able to coach football or any sport for that matter.”
Spigarelli, who stressed his decision is a retirement more than a resignation, believes “as of today” he’s coached his last game.
“It’s time to get back to a little bit of time for myself,” Spigarelli said. “This was one of the three toughest decisions I’ve had to make in my life simply because of my passion and love for Bellaire and football. I’ve eaten, slept and drank it for basically my entire life, so it’s very tough to give it up.”
Bellaire started the process of hiring Spigarelli’s successor on Monday. Director of Athletics Mike Sherwood is accepting resumes and the job was posted inside the school for members of the faculty to apply.