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Ask Batavia head coach Mike Gaspari about 1985 and he’ll tell you that every time Batavia has a good season he reflects back to that year.

Twenty-three years ago Mike Gaspari took the head coaching job at Batavia High School and he’ll tell you that neither he, nor his staff have changed a thing they do, on the field or off. “The philosophy packet I had out to the [kids & their parents] at the beginning of the season hasn’t changed one letter since 1985.” He said.

 Gaspari reflects back because he remembers what it was like when his Bulldogs went 0-9 in his first season and a combined 4-32 over his first 4 years. Batavia wouldn’t make the playoffs until 1991 and wouldn’t advance a round 1996.

“There was a tremendous amount of apathy surrounding the program back then.” Gaspari said. “To say it’s done a complete reversal would probably be a dramatic understatement. The biggest change has been that kids today believe that they can be successful in our program.”

Success seems to be a point during our preseason interview with Gaspari. On top of the success the Bulldogs had last season, you get the feeling that he’s actually more proud of this summer’s Junior Bulldog program.

For those unfamiliar players from Batavia are asked to volunteer in the Junior Bulldog program. Where they spend time with local 1st through 7th graders showing them how to hone their football skills, before organizing into teams coached by the players. The program also involves movie nights, a trip to the local swimming pool and other community functions.

The program organized though the park district is in its 15th season now, and had a big showing by this year’s team. Gaspari feels that with the commitment they gave and the way they handled that situation with the younger kids in town.

“I was very impressed with our guys. And that was probably more important than anything that will happen the rest of the year. That in its self has already made this a successful season.” Gaspari said in reference to his players volunteer efforts over the summer.



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