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My glory days: Mike Isgro, Absegami High School 2006

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By Giuseppe Ungaro Managing Editor Mike Isgro, the player, has a hunger to win, a knack for leadership, and a desire to compete that is found in most elite athletes. Mike Isgro, the coach, still has all those same traits and is trying to pass them along to his players. The former Absegami High School two-sport standout joined Tim Watson’s Cedar Creek High School football staff in 2010. Watson was an assistant at Absegami during Isgro’s playing days. Isgro, who graduated Absegami in 2006, now assists Watson as the Pirates’ offensive coordinator. “It has been awesome coaching with this coaching staff,” said Isgro. “Coach Watson does a phenomenal job. It’s a lot of fun coaching with the staff. The guys are great, the players are awesome and the fan base makes it a great high school atmosphere.” Isgro, who went on to excel in both baseball and football and Delaware Valley College, still competes himself. Mike Isgro, a former star quarterback at Absegami High School, is the current offensive coordinator for the Cedar Creek Pirates. (Glory Days Magazine photo/Dave O'Sullivan) Mike Isgro, a former star quarterback at Absegami High School, is the current offensive coordinator for the Cedar Creek Pirates. (Glory Days Magazine photo/Dave O’Sullivan) Like several of the area football players, Isgro competes in the Men’s Flag Football League of South Jersey as well as the Atlantic County Baseball League. As much as he enjoys playing, Isgro said he is really embracing his coaching career and enjoying his time on the sidelines guiding the Cedar Creek players. “I just want them to work hard and compete every day no matter what,” he explained. “Whether it is football or baseball you have to stay focused. I just want them to try to work hard every day as athletes and students. That is something I tried to do. I tried to outwork everybody and just work hard as I could.” Isgro, who is a teaching assistant at the school and plans to get a Masters degree in Special Education, learned to have a strong work ethic through his coaches at Absegami, including his father, Ernie, who is also on the Cedar Creek staff. He credits those coaches and mentors for his success and he tries to pass the lessons he learned during his high school days along to the players he now coaches. “I learned so much from Mr. (Scott) Parker, who is the school vice principal over here now (and former Absegami coach), coach Brian (Wastell), coach (Shawn) Scannell, obviously, coach Watson and coach Doug Colman; those guys as coaches and many teachers guiding me as well,” Isgro explained. “Coach Watson gave me just a great opportunity to come back and help a guy who coached me in high school and inspired me, someone I looked up to in high school and now I’m coaching alongside him every day with him. He is a great head coach.” Isgro added: “My father coached and helped out the offense, and it was pretty cool to watch my dad coach at Absegami for a long time. Now I get to coach with him. It’s a cool experience.” Isgro left Absegami and continued to shine on the gridiron and diamond at Delaware Valley College. He was a four-year starter at quarterback, finishing his career second all-time with 61 passing touchdowns and 7,336 yards. In his final season on the diamond, Isgro led the Aggies in home runs (13), runs (42), hits (6), RBIs (55) and slugging percentage (.896). Playing at a high level at both Absegami and in college gives Isgro a years of experience to tap into when coaching. There hasn’t been too many situations Isgro hasn’t faced in all his years of an elite athlete, and that makes him better prepared as a coach, he said. “I try to add as much as I learned from playing into coaching,” he said. “I had different experiences and moments while playing. I can help these high school players break down a situation and help them overcome a challenge, whatever it might be. It might be third down or it might have to do something in school. I will try to help them get through high school and grow as young men.” For someone as competitive as Isgro, the next logical step is to become a head coach, but he doesn’t think it will be anytime soon. “I have thought about it, but it would be tough here because coach Watson is going to be here a long time and I don’t see myself leaving,” he said. “I love coaching with coach Watson. It has been a dream come true. These guys are awesome to work with and I enjoy being here and enjoy being part of the coaching staff. “Maybe someday later down the road. I think it will be another challenge to be a head coach somewhere.” Contact Giuseppe Ungaro: gungaro@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDgisepu

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