Dan Boarman remembers being a 13-year-old in the summer of 1966 and getting ready for his freshman year at St. Vincent High School.
Boarman had high expectations as a football player, and coach John Cistone helped him reach his potential as a lineman. Boarman started for three seasons at St. V and was also a three-year starter as an offensive lineman at Indiana University.
“I was the last of the small offensive linemen,” Boarman said with a laugh this week.
Now Boarman, 60, is the coach of a St. Vincent-St. Mary High School football team that is one victory away from a Division III state championship.
His main focus is on his players and the game against Bellevue at 11 a.m. Saturday at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, but Boarman reflected this week and is thankful for Cistone.
“Coach is probably one of the most honorable and greatest guys I ever met, other than my own father,” Boarman said. “Coach has had a strong influence in my life, just in how he has lived his life and the things that he has taught.
“Coach was always low key and never a screamer or yeller. Coach was truly a teacher, and that is the biggest thing I think I learned. It was hey, you have to continue to work with kids and teach them.”
Boarman, a 1970 St. V graduate, said he also learned a lot from his parents, Marv and Stella. He was in college at IU when St. Vincent and St. Mary merged in 1972. That year the Fighting Irish won the Class AA state championship under the direction of Cistone.
Cistone coached St. V from 1965-1971 and then coached St. V-M from 1972-1996, compiling an overall record of 207-115-6. The Irish also won Division III state titles in 1981, 1982 and 1988 with Boarman serving as defensive coordinator under Cistone.
“Dan has done an outstanding job,” said Cistone, 81, a 1950 St. V graduate. “He has a good staff. Provie Tomei has been an assistant for 25 to 30 years. I saw them play against Walsh Jesuit, Marion Harding and Dover, and from what I have seen they have improved from the beginning of the season to now. They look like they are functioning well.
“They have everything you need. They have the speed and they are aggressive, and it seems like they have a good attitude. They want to win. It will take a good football team to beat them. Dan has the experience. He was with me for 13 or 14 years on my staff after he got out of college and then coached at Massillon [as a defensive coordinator under Lee Owens in 1989] and at Copley [as head coach from 1990-2006].”
Cistone also served as a teacher and athletic director at St. V and St. V-M. He played for Eddie Wentz, who coached St. V football from 1924-1964 and compiled a 177-134-41 record. Cistone also played baseball and basketball at St. V, and played baseball and football at the University of Akron.
“Any success that I have really had in life is because of this game,” said Boarman, who has an overall football record of 168-91 and a 51-21 mark at St. V-M. “It is people like John Cistone and some of the assistant coaches I had here at St. Vincent. Guys like Fred Maligio. They are the ones who pushed me and really got me a college scholarship. I am the first one in my family to go off to college and I don’t believe I would have gone to college without football. I deeply appreciate everything they did.”
Boarman lives in Copley with his wife, Sandra, and teaches physical education at Copley High School. They have four children (Daniel, Anne Marie, Marisa and Anthony) and eight grandchildren. He led Irish baseball teams in 1986 and 1988 to state titles, and coached his sons in football at Copley.
Cistone and his wife, Sally, live in Green. They have five children, four boys (Dan, Dave, John and Terry) who played for their father at St. V-M and one daughter (Gina) who graduated from Green, and 14 grandchildren.
Cistone said he interacts with Boarman and players at practice about once a week.
“He doesn’t stay long, he just makes an appearance and talks with us,” Boarman said.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.