Always one to be on the fringe of excitement and anticipation, when it comes to an upcoming football season, Passaic Valley head coach Chet Parlavecchio has certainly been busy this summer, and not just on the gridiron.
Parlavecchio’s daughter, Nicole, was married last weekend, so getting back to football was actually easy.
“It was a wonderful wedding,” said Parlavecchio. “My wife (Jean) and I were obviously thrilled. It’s emotional, in a way, of course, but in the same aspect, you’re always proud and want the best for your children. Walking her down the aisle was tough, but wonderful.”
Coaching football has been a part of Parlavecchio’s life since before his daughter was born. His first head coaching job came in 1987, at Bloomfield High, where he stayed for four seasons. He would move onto Irvington High in 1991 and 1992 and after a year as an assistant at Temple University in 1993, Chet was back in New Jersey high school football, leading Passaic Valley, from 1994-1998. During that tenure at PV, he guided the Hornets to a 37-12 mark and four straight appearances in the NJSIAA playoffs, including a state championship game at Giants Stadium, in 1996.
Parlavecchio would move on to be head coach at Clifton from 1999-2003, leading the Mustangs to a playoff berth in ’03. After taking off the 2004 and 2005 seasons, to watch his son, Chet Jr., play high school ball, Parlavecchio’s next head coaching job was at Elizabeth, from 2006-2009, where he led the Minutemen to a state championship in 2006.
Chet, far left, along with, left to right, Pro Football Hall of Famer, Mike Munchak, Chet Parlavecchio, Jr., now the head coach at New Providence High and Marc Parlavecchio, Chet’s brother, who is now an assistant to Parlavecchio, Jr. (Click on photo for larger image)
The NFL came calling next, as Parlavecchio’s close friend, Mike Munchak, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, was named head coach of the Tennessee Titans in 2011 and offered Chet an assistant’s position, which he held from 2011-2013.
And then, in 2015, Parlavecchio was back at Passaic Valley for his second run as head coach. He’s beginning his fourth season at PV this fall. The past two seasons, the Hornets had winning seasons, including a 6-3 mark in 2017.
“It goes by quickly,” said Parlavecchio last week. “We’re going to be young this year, but I’ll tell you what, these kids are workaholics. They love to practice and work out. There are certainly a lot of question marks, but that’s fine. I’ll take this kind of team any day.”
Parlavecchio’s coaching staff has changed, notably as Al Cappello, Joe Benvenuti and Dennis Mikula, are no longer on staff. Benvenuti is the new athletic director at PV; Cappello, a one-time head coach at PV and former Hornet standout lineman, will be focusing on work projects, as well as the birth of a third son to he and his wife, Lynn; and Mikula has moved on to a new school.
Joe Wassel and his brother Max Wassel, both former Hornets, return and will coach on the varsity. Lou Paradiso, Mike Gurst and George Hill are also back on staff this fall.
Parlavecchio still has two open coaching positions on his staff, and is interested in speaking to prospective coaches who may want to join the PV staff this season.
“We’re looking, but we have to find the right fit,” the coach said. “With Al Cappello leaving, I’ll be focused more on coaching the offensive line and I’m real excited about that. Al did a great job, and I know how important that is, and I’m excited about taking that over. I’ll also be more involved with play calling on offense. If anyone is interested in talking to me about coaching this year, please call me at the high school.”
Parlavecchio had battled an illness last year, which wore him down, somewhat, and forced him to miss a game on the sidelines. This year, he’s feeling 100 percent.
“No question, I feel great,” said Parlavecchio. “I’m ready.”
The Hornets will be busy in July with practicing, as well as some 7-on-7 scrimmages. The team begins regular practices, on or about Aug. 13. The first scrimmage, in pads, is set for Aug. 22, when Morristown visits, at 11 a.m. The next two scrimmages are also home, on Aug. 25, against Passaic, at 11 a.m. and the game scrimmage, on Aug. 31, opposite Notre Dame of Lawrenceville.
The season opener is set for Sept. 8, with a 2 p.m. game, at home, against Lakeland. Road games follow at Delbarton and Wayne Valley, before a Sept. 29 home game, against Fair Lawn.