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Chuck Priore recalls getting start at Albany
Try as he might, Stony Brook University football coach Chuck Priore cannot distance himself from one of the main topics of Saturday’s FCS playoff game with Albany, that being his past association with Albany coach Bob Ford.
"The storyline should not be Chuck vs. coach Ford, it should be Albany vs. Stony Brook,’’ Priore said on a conference call with Albany media.
But he did engage the questioners about the man he played and worked under years ago at Albany.
After graduating from Albany in 1982, Priore worked as a systems analyst at Metropolitan Life.
"I called [Ford] up on a summer afternoon in July and said 'Hey, coach I’m going to quit my job ‘cause I don’t really want to work in Manhattan. I’m going to come up and volunteer and go get my masters. He said 'We’d love to have you.' A day later a graduate assistant left, he called me back and said 'I have a graduate assistant position for you.' I can honestly say I wouldn’t be sitting in this chair if he didn’t provide me that opportunity.’’
In other topics, Priore was also asked about LaValle Stadium and the role it played in elevating the program.
"When I was fortunate enough to get the job six years ago, the stadium was in place," he said. "If you have a facility they will come, that was sort of our philosophy ... And we obviously added scholarships throughout my tenure here. Obviously, there’s been a financial commitment to football."
The Big South Conference also proved to be a recruiting tool, Priore said. "I do think the conference affiliation has been an attractive thing to some recruits, to play in some warm weather climates, the ability to know all of our away games would be charter flights. Those are the things the kids want to do, they don’t want to be on a six-hour bus ride. It’s been a great association for us being in the Big South and a honor to play with them."
Priore said the team concept has paid off this season. "Sometimes you have great players and you’re not a good team. This team had good players, but with really a great team. We were fortunate enough to get our valleys done early and have a lot of peaks as the year went on. We stayed injury free for the most part, which every coach will tell you is the secret to success. We had 24 surgeries last year, this year we’re at two. People were looking out for us. We played well, played consistent, stayed away from turnovers, won the field position battle, I think our coaches did a great job of putting kids in positions to be successful."