Los, 1970 football team among the sports winners of the Hall of Fame of the Greater Amsterdam School District

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The success of Amsterdam’s football program under John Los set the tone for the success of the Rugged Rams over the next five decades, but for Los there was no “magic bullet” he provided to bring it about. the team there.

It was simply a matter of building on the foundations that were already in place.

“Basically we’ve tightened things up,” Los said. “I thought we could do a better job teaching and emphasizing fundamentals and usability. It was a big part of that, becoming a team and the sacrifices you make as individuals for a group cause. “

Los’s time in the Greater Amsterdam School District was relatively short, but left a major impact. He arrived in the district as a physical education teacher and coach in 1966, and by the time he left in 1973, he had helped usher in a new era in Amsterdam football.

Los was first an assistant football coach under Gene White, before becoming head coach in 1969 when White left the district for Colony. The Ipswich, Massachusetts native only spent four seasons as Amsterdam’s head coach, but compiled a 22-8-2 record during that time and led the Rams to the Championships in the Class A League in 1970 and 1971.

This 1970 title was Amsterdam’s first football championship in 22 years.

“The team had had some success during [the previous] 24, 25, ”said Dave Weissman, the team’s outstanding running back. “But, they never won anything. They had never beaten any of the power plants at that time.

Los and his team of 1970 will be honored Friday night as part of the 2021 GASD Hall of Fame Class. Coaches John “Jack” Tracy and Bob Noto, as well as athletes Giuseppi Lanzi and Mike will also join the Hall of Fame athletic wing this year. Angellotti.

Los, who was also the first boys’ lacrosse coach at the University of Amsterdam and was an assistant wrestling coach under Hall of Fame member Pat Reilly, was instrumental in the development of many traditions that have benefited the football program over the past half century, including the formation of the Amsterdam football booster club and the high school team’s close connection with the Amsterdam Little Giants youth program.

It was a group of players who were among the first to get the full Little Giants experience that led the way in Amsterdam’s 1970 6-1-1 campaign.

“We were the first age group to start from the start and go through the years playing in the Little Giants,” said Gary Pawlowski, co-captain of the 1970 team. “It meant a lot because we had already some football skills by the time we started playing in first grade. “

Amsterdam went 4-4 in Los’s rookie campaign in 1969, and the 1970 season began with a long bus trip through the Syracuse area and a loss to Liverpool.

It was the only time the Rams tasted defeat that season.

“It didn’t take much for John Los to get us excited and get us back on track,” said Pawlowski.

Amsterdam’s iconic victory in 1970 came just a week after the loss to Liverpool, when the Rams dispatched a side from Mont Pleasant who had dominated their rivalry for more than 20 years.

“Back then, and for a number of years before that, to have a successful season you had to go through Mount Pleasant,” Los said. “That night at Mont Pleasant, it was over 20 years since we last beat them, and we played well and won the game. It was the impetus to turn things around in a championship caliber. “

The only other flaw on the team’s record was a tie with Gloversville, but a perfect 4-0 score in league games earned Amsterdam their first Class A league crown since 1948.

It was a team, said Pawlowski, who wholeheartedly embraced Los’s philosophy of team unity – sometimes to their own detriment.

“We spent time together, after the games we celebrated,” said Pawlowski. “We drank champagne, and John Los heard about it, so in a Monday practice he had us do ‘champagne sprints’. He said, ‘Do you want to party? Now you have to do the sprints.

Weissman, who transferred to Amsterdam from Perth High School as a junior before the 1970 season, is relatively unfamiliar with Amsterdam’s football traditions, but immediately turned to Los’s no-frills training method. .

“He was certainly a man of few words,” Weissman said, “but he got his point across and he did it in a way that wasn’t intimidating. He was just a very strong person. and direct. ”We didn’t fear him, we respected him enormously.

For Los, it was about bringing the team together, something that stuck long after the reins passed to Brian Mee, Frank Derrico and Pat Liverio after him.

“We played as a team. There were no two ways about it, ”Los said. “It was the accent. The players and coaches have subscribed to it. This is where the success started.

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Categories: High school sports, Sports


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