Former track star finds passion
Edward Rudman – Sports Writer
The Men’s track and field coaching staff is comprised of multiple alumni who competed as an Owl, something Assistant Coach Joe Caraciolo says is one of the program’s greatest strengths.
“Everything flows, there’s no hesitation in anything, it’s great,” said Caraciolo. “Coach Nixon and Coach Nill, we were all teammates when we competed and that allows us to work a lot better together because we already know each other. We know how to work under pressure together, so it’s flawless almost.”
Caraciolo has had an accomplished career in his own right when he competed as an Owl, including a Northeast-10 Conference Championship in the long jump as a junior and the New England runner-up in the long jump outdoors as a junior, according to the Southern Athletic Website.
During his time as an Owl, Caraciolo said he came into the program as a freshman that was full of great athletes and was still able to be a major part of the team from the start, as he was All-Region in the long jump as a freshman, sophomore, and junior.
“My experience was great. I joined the team with a bunch of All-Americans, a national champion, and a couple All-Americans in the making,” said Caraciolo. “Needless to say, I was joining a really good team. Super competitive, hard working group of guys and it pushed me to better myself in the jumps.”
After graduating from Southern, it was only natural that Caraciolo joined the coaching staff, as he said it was always his destiny to coach and that his passion for it had developed long before becoming one.
“My high school coach had us volunteer a lot. We volunteered working at track meets during the summer and track for little kids and that’s where my love for it came from,” said Caraciolo. “One thing that really resonates with me still to this day is my high school coach always told us one day you’re going to have to give back to this sport and now, here I am doing that.”
When it comes to coaching, Caraciolo considers it his passion, not a job. A normal day for him consists of 12 hours at the facility, and although it may get tiring or frustrating at times, it’s what he loves to do.
Head Coach John Wallin said that Caraciolo is a great student of the sport and that he was always interested in the training aspect of it.
“All of our assistants, they were very interested in learning the method of the madness when it came to training for the sport while they were students and that really triggered the coaching concept, and that there’s more than just showing up to practice and doing what coach asked,” said Wallin. “And so, Joe was always intrigued with all the things that we did.”
Caraciolo’s expertise in jumping and his long time passion for coaching has given him the opportunity to help current Owls become better athletes and stay true to the sports while also giving back to it.
Decathlete Dan Brown, a senior, said, “I’ve never had a coach so full of information. One of the reasons I love track and field is the attention to detail it takes, technique and what not, to get better at your craft. Coach Joe knows too much about jumping and technique and all the little details and he’s helped me become a better decathlete because of it.”
Photo credit: http://www.scsuowls.com