Connecticut High School Football

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Coaching carousel update: Panapada elevated to head coach at Trinity Catholic

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No shock here, Trinity Catholic announced it has elevated assistant Donny Panapada to head coach of its football team.

Panapada is the third consecutive Trinity Catholic alumnus to become head coach. He takes over for Peter Stokes, who stepped down after taking the Crusaders to their first state postseason since 1993.

Panapada played under Rich Albonizio at Trinity Catholic and later coached with him at Greenwich, where he helped develop all-state lineman John Sullivan into a Notre Dame star and an NFL stud with the Minnesota Vikings.

His tenure at Greenwich ended in 2002 however after he tossed and broke the CIAC’s Class LL runner-up trophy after a contentious (and some may say, controversial) 20-13 loss to West Haven at Kennedy Stadium.

Panapada has overcome that ignominy over the last 10 years. He hooked up with his alma mater and became defensive coordinator. He became a personal favorite of Stokes, who spoke of his right-hand man in glowing terms.

“We made a great choice,” Stokes told our own Dave Ruden. “Plain and simple. He’s the best. He’s deserving, educated in the game and knows his Xs and Os.”

Elsewhere: Expect an announcement from Naugatuck soon. Interviews were conducted last week and the four finalists should be hearing back from the school any time now. …New Milford is supposedly in its second round of interviews. …

Sean Patrick Bowley

10 Responses

  1. Pete Stokes says:

    Donnie Panapada is the right guy for the job, Period. He is a tremendous football coach with a wealth of knowledge. He is a fine man with a great family and will lead the Crusaders for years to come. This is a great day for Catholic Football. Donnie should not be remebered for 3 seconds of emotion in a State final Loss. He will be remembered for being a Helluva Head Coach. Hail Catholic…

  2. We all have our moments, absolutely, coach. Ten years is a long time ago, anyway.

  3. Trinity fan says:

    What an awesome hire. No surprise he joins the Trinity staff and they end up 8 -3 and in the states only 2 years later.Give him some time though, they graduated everyone and drew a brutal schedule.

  4. apath says:

    Stokes=class act.

    Masuk and Trinity begin searches on the same day. I assume Masuk will be announcing their choice very soon.

  5. I can’t see Masuk announcing very soon. Seems like a few weeks off…

  6. Brian says:

    I don’t understand why TC MUST ALWAYS go for former alumni as coaches. Why didn’t stokes just tell that whack job nichols he wanted DP as the new coach. That is how that school does things it seems. He could have been hired the day after Pete quit.

  7. anonymous says:

    Good for Trinity. It seems like that Athletic program always knows what they are doing. Panapada will make a fine Head Coach and as a young guy learned from his mistake years ago. That is a man of great passion and no doubt will do an outstanding at Trinity !!

  8. CTFB12 says:

    Any word out of Naugatuck?

  9. @CTFB12 – None. Expecting soon.

  10. mike says:

    Enjoy it while it lasts because when it goes bad it goes bad fast. The kids make the program not the schemes. As long as the kids and Admin. is supportive of him he will be ok but Stamford parents are only loyal provided their kid is playing.

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