After 20 years of coaching at Deerfield, Mr. Michael Silipo will step down from his position as the varsity football and baseball coach at the end of this academic year. He will continue to coach boys squash and teach history. Mr. Silipo has influenced countless players and coaches throughout his time at Deerfield.
Assistant Director of Admission Mr. Drew Philie ’09, who is currently a coach alongside Mr. Silipo, played football while he was a student at Deerfield. Mr. Philie said, “[Mr. Silipo] always held me accountable [as a player], pushed me to do my best, and I always knew that he loved me, because he would tell me it all the time.” Mr. Philie noted that Mr. Silipo is not only “extremely knowledgeable about the sports he has coached,” but that he also “teaches kids to earn it both on and off the field and be accountable for their play and action.”
Mr. Philie has had many good memories of being on Mr. Silipo’s football team. One of his favorite traditions was Milk and Cookies. Every Friday night, while the team shared milk and cookies, Mr. Silipo would “talk about life lessons” and “about the brotherhood [they] had created.” Mr. Philie said that in these talks, Mr. Silipo “always had the right words, the right tone, and the best message. ”
Emerson Logie ’16, a four year member of the Varisty football team, said, “Mr. Silipo taught me how to be a competitor, how to lead, how to be tough, how to be a good teammate, and how to be a more humble person. He made me ask myself why I play football, who I play for, and how the lessons I learn from the game can be implemented in everyday life.”
Dylan Presnal ’17, a pitcher on the baseball team, said that Mr. Silipo “embodies what Deerfield Academy should expect from their teaches and coaches. He is the perfect example of how one should conduct themselves both on and off the playing field… he respects his opponents while commanding and gaining their respect in return.”
Mr. Brian Barbato coached football alongside Mr. Silipo this past season and will step up as head coach next year. He, too, believes that Mr. Silipo has “influenced the football program through his passion and dedication as an amazing coach, mentor, and friend.” Mr. Barbato added that Mr. Silipo “cares deeply about strengthening the moral fibers and resiliency of his players and has used the game as his classroom to teach the skills in football and in life that will impact his players.”
The entire Deerfield community will miss Mr. Silipo’s presence on the football and baseball fields. Mr. Barbato said that he “will miss [Mr. Silipo’s] understanding of the game and the many experiences that he has shared with fellow coaches, individual players, and the entire team.” Similarly, Logie will miss “spending time with [Mr. Silipo] and hearing all his stories and life lessons,” while Philie will miss “having [him] on the sidelines.”
Though future Deerfield athletes will not get the chance to be coached by Mr. Silipo, Mr. Barbato emphasized that he “will make sure… his influence on the team will be felt for a long time to come.”