My children think Coach Cacckello is the best ever

To the Editor: 

My name is Leo Herbst Sr. and my daughter plays on the Guilderland varsity basketball team. I have four children who attended the Guilderland School District and have had Frank Cacckello as a gym teacher and now my daughter is on the basketball team that Coach Cacckello leads. I have heard rumors about this complaint about Coach Cacckello.

All of my children who have had Coach Cacckello as a gym teacher/coach think he is the best gym teacher/coach ever. Does he get loud at practice sometimes? I would bet my bottom dollar that he does. But what coach doesn’t?

My daughter has a sense of pride knowing she has been picked by Coach Cacckello to be a member of the varsity basketball team. She has worked very hard to become a member of that team and, as long as I have known Coach Cacckello, I have always thought of him as a great coach.

I have in the past been a coach for Little League and I assure you that coaching is not easy and sometimes becomes very demanding. To be the best, it takes a lot of practice, doing things over and over.

Do coaches get loud? Of course they do! Do coaches yell sometimes? One hundred percent yes! But does that make them a bad coach? I would say not.

Now, if a coach is calling the athletes derogatory names, yelling racial slurs, or being vulgar, then I can see why that person should not be a coach. I have talked with my daughter and it is apparent to me that she has never been spoken to in that manner.

It does not matter if you are a male or a female, you are an athlete. I have told my daughter that it doesn’t matter how good you are, there will always be someone just a little better and, if the coach is drilling that into your head, he wants to make you the best you can be.

I think it is very unfair to Coach Cacckello that a complaint was written and sent to the school board and that the media was contacted, but at the last minute that parent wanted to retract her statement and wish him well. I think this whole matter should have been handled in a different manner.

As for me, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Coach Cacckello for the time and knowledge that he has spent on my daughter and the entire girls’ basketball program in Guilderland.

Friday, Feb. 7, was Coach Cacckello’s final home game. Some of the girls took the initiative to write the following in the game’s program:

“Coach Cacckello has been coaching for 20 years and has been coaching varsity here at Guilderland for 13. He is a caring and thoughtful coach whose goal is to make everybody reach their highest potential. We are very fortunate to have been able to work with him for all these years.

“We will miss his 10-1s and his well named 1, 2, 3, 4 drill.  Through the tough and not-so-tough games he has been with us every step of the way. He manages to see the whole of everybody and knows how to communicate with each and every one of us. He has so much passion in coaching this team because he believes in us and knows what we are all capable of.

“He is never not teaching, every second of the day, not only basketball skills but life-long skills. This is what makes him special and one of a kind. Because of his leadership and trust in us, he has built a community where everyone feels supported and important. We have been encouraged to do things on our own and this has helped us learn skills that will help us in the real world. We will miss you so much Coach Cacckello; thank you for everything you’ve done for us.”

If yelling makes my child gain this kind of respect then Coach Cacckello, I say, yell away.


Leo T. Herbst Sr.


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