Peter Mazzaferro

Last updated
Peter Mazzaferro
Biographical details
Born (1930-06-24) June 24, 1930 (age 91)
Torrington, Connecticut
Playing career
1952–1953 Centre
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1950s Springfield (MA) (assistant)
1959–1962 Waynesburg
1963 Curry
1965 Beaver Falls HS (PA)
1966–1967 Bridgewater State (assistant)
1968–1986 Bridgewater State
1987 Milton Academy (MA) (assistant)
1988–2004 Bridgewater State
2005 Curry (QB/WR)
2006 Stonehill (TE)
1959–1963 Waynesburg
Head coaching record
Overall209–158–11 (college football)
14–66 (college basketball)
Tournaments0–2 (NCAA D-III playoffs)
Accomplishments and honors
5 NEFC (1989, 1992, 1997, 1999–2000)

Peter "Papa Bear" Mazzaferro (born June 24, 1930) is a former American football coach. With the exception of the 1987 season, he was the head football coach at Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, from 1968 to 2004. He compiled a career college football head coaching record of 209–158–11.


Centre College

Mazzaferro was born in Torrington, Connecticut, and attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. He played for the Centre Praying Colonels football team and also competed in track. [1] He graduated from Centre in 1954. [2]

Coaching career

Early years

Mazzaferro began his career coaching eight-man high school football. [3] In the 1950s, while pursuing a master's degree at Springfield College, Mazzaferro helped coach the freshman football team. The center on the Springfield team was Dick MacPherson, who went on to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for his work as the head football coach at Syracuse University. [3]

From 1959 to 1962, Mazzaferro was the head football coach at Waynesburg University in southwestern Pennsylvania. He had a four-year record of 12–19–3 at Waynesburg. [2] He was also the head basketball coach at Waynesburg from 1959 to 1963, compiling a record of 14–66. [2]

In the fall of 1963, Mazzaferro moved to Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts. He was the head football coach at Curry for one year and had a record there of 2–2–1. [2]

In 1965, Mazzaferro coached football at Beaver Falls High School in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. [3]

Bridgewater State

In 1966, Mazzaferro became an assistant football coach at Bridgewater State College, the largest of Massachusetts' nine state colleges outside of the UMass system. After two years as an assistant to Ed Swenson, [1] Mazzaferro took over as the head coach of the Bridgewater Bears football team in 1968. He remained as the head football coach at Bridgewater for 36 years. He also served as a tenured faculty member at Bridgewater in the Department of Movement Arts, Health Promotion, and Leisure Studies. [1] During his time as head coach, Bridgewater won or shared the New England Football Conference championship in 1968, 1969, 1989, 1997, 1999 and 2000, along with Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference championships in 1986, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 1999 and 2000. [4] He compiled a record of 195-136-7 at Bridgewater. [2]

After his first 17 years as head football coach at Bridgewater, Mazzaferro was removed from that position for the 1987 football season due to a new policy enacted by university president Gerard T. Indelicato. Indelicato decided that faculty members, including Mazzaferro, could not receive "release time." Mazzaferro had been receiving release time to serve as the school's head football coach for 17 years. Mazzaferro applied to keep his job, but he did not make the list of finalists. Mazzaferro noted at the time, "You can't coach forever, but I'd hate to have to go out that way." [5] Mazzaferro sued the college for age discrimination. While the suit was pending, Bridgewater's record fell to 4-5, and Indelicato was forced to resign and pleaded guilty to misappropriating government funds. [5] Mazzaferro dropped his lawsuit and was reinstated as football coach in 1988, and served another 19 years as the head football coach after being reinstated. [5] [2]

After returning to the head coaching position, Mazzaferro restored the program's winning tradition with 14 consecutive winning seasons from 1988 to 2001. [2] In 1989, Bridgewater had a 9-0 regular season before losing a close game in the ECAC Division III North finals. The Providence Journal called it the school's "finest season ever." [6] Bridgewater's defense in 1989 was ranked No. 1 nationally in Division III rushing defense, allowing only 32.1 yards a game and less than a yard per carry. Mazzaferro said at the time, "I'm extra proud of our defense. We play a simple 4-4 defense, which is what Notre Dame used a hundred years ago, and I love it. Our guys have it down pat and know what to do. We're not big or fancy, but we get the job done. ... This is a special team in my book." [7]

In the four years from 1989 to 1992, Mazzaferro's teams ran a successful veer offense along with its 4-4 defense and compiled a record of 34-5-1, including an undefeated 1992 season. [2] [8] In 1999, Mazzaferro's team finished the regular season 10-0. [9]

Mazzaferro was affectionately known at the school as "Papa Bear." [9] In 2003, Bridgewater athletic director John Harper noted, "He's dedicated his life to BSC." [9] In August 2002, sports writer Paul Kenney wrote a feature story on Mazzaferro, noting that he worked at "a cluttered state-issued gray metal desk, located in a basement office of the gymnasium" with only small black metal nameplate reading simply, "Peter Mazzaferro Head Coach." [9] The writer suggested that, with Mazzaferro's achievements, "the word 'legend' might be a more deserving moniker for that nameplate." [9]

In September 2003, the Boston Herald published a story on the 73-year-old coach. The Herald noted, "When Bridgewater State coach Pete Mazzaferro glances across the football field, his mind often drifts back through 40 years of coaching, recalling opposing counterparts like so many gridiron ghosts of seasons past." [3] His opponents included Ed Sherman (College Football Hall of Fame coach at Muskingum College), Harold Burry (College Football Hall of Fame coach at Westminster College), and Paul Pasqualoni (from Western Connecticut). In his time as a high school coach, Mazzaferro had also coached against College Football Hall of Fame coach Lee Tressel (father of Jim Tressel) when Tressel worked at Massillon Washington High School in Ohio. [3] Looking back on his career, Mazzaferro told the Herald, "You go through a lot. You get hung in effigy or the (school) president attacks you on the field. I've gone through it all. I've always been interested in X's and O's but it's the kids you coach, they're like a family." [3]

Mazzaferro achieved his 200th career win during the 2003 season. [10] He retired from coaching after the 2004 season at age 74. Upon being named the new head coach, Charles Denune said, "I'm stepping in the footsteps of a giant. His success was tremendous, and he has done a lot for me. I have utmost respect for him. I'm following a legend, and that's one of the most exciting things about this." [11]

Overall coaching record and awards

In 41 years as a head coach, Mazzaferro compiled an overall record of 209 wins, 157 losses, and 11 ties. [2] Mazzaferro has received many awards for his contributions to college football including the following:

Curry College assistant

Mazzaferro came out of retirement in August 2005 to accept an assistant coaching position at Curry College working with the quarterbacks and wide receivers. Curry head coach Steve Nelson noted at the time, "I think it's going to be good for our team, and it's going to be good for Pete. He fits in terrifically here. The kids really like him, and he's got a lot of stories to tell." [13]

See also

Head coaching record

College football

Waynesburg Yellow Jackets (West Penn Conference)(1959–1962)
1959 Waynesburg1–6–20–3–1T–5th
1960 Waynesburg0–8–10–4–1T–5th
1961 Waynesburg6–22–2T–2nd
1962 Waynesburg5–33–13rd
Curry Colonels (Independent)(1963)
1963 Curry2–2–1
Bridgewater State Bears (New England Football Conference)(1968–1986)
1968 Bridgewater State5–3
1969 Bridgewater State3–4–1
1970 Bridgewater State0–8
1971 Bridgewater State3–6
1972 Bridgewater State4–52–25th
1973 Bridgewater State5–52–2T–3rd
1974 Bridgewater State6–44–3T–5th
1975 Bridgewater State7–35–3T–4th
1976 Bridgewater State6–35–3T–2nd
1977 Bridgewater State6–35–3T–2nd
1978 Bridgewater State3–63–57th
1979 Bridgewater State3–5–13–5–18th
1980 Bridgewater State5–3–15–3–1T–4th
1981 Bridgewater State3–63–6T–7th
1982 Bridgewater State5–3–15–3–14th
1983 Bridgewater State4–54–5T–5th
1984 Bridgewater State2–72–7T–7th
1985 Bridgewater State5–45–43rd
1986 Bridgewater State6–1–26–1–24rd
Bridgewater State Bears (New England Football Conference)(1988–2004)
1988 Bridgewater State5–43–3T–4th (South)
1989 Bridgewater State9–16–01st (South)L ECAC North Bowl
1990 Bridgewater State8–26–01st (South)
1991 Bridgewater State8–26–01st (South)
1992 Bridgewater State9–1–18–01stL ECAC Northeast Bowl
1993 Bridgewater State5–55–3T–3rd
1994 Bridgewater State6–46–2T–3rd
1995 Bridgewater State6–46–2T–2nd
1996 Bridgewater State5–54–4T–5th
1997 Bridgewater State7–37–1T–1st
1998 Bridgewater State7–37–11st (Red)
1999 Bridgewater State10–16–01st (Red)L NCAA Division III First Round
2000 Bridgewater State8–35–1T–1st (Bogan)L NCAA Division III First Round
2001 Bridgewater State5–43–33rd (Bogan)
2002 Bridgewater State4–53–34th (Bogan)
2003 Bridgewater State6–34–23rd (Bogan)
2004 Bridgewater State6–34–2T–2nd (Bogan)
Bridgewater State:195–137–7
      National championship        Conference title        Conference division title or championship game berth

Related Research Articles

Barry Alvarez American football player, coach, and administrator (born 1946)

Barry Lee Alvarez is a former American football coach and athletic director at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He served as the head football coach at Wisconsin for 16 seasons, from 1990 to 2005, compiling a career college football record of 119–72–4. He has the longest head coaching tenure and the most wins in Wisconsin Badgers football history. Alvarez stepped down as head coach after the 2005 season, and remained as athletics director until July 1, 2021.

Jim Tressel American football coach (born 1952)

James Patrick Tressel is an American college football coach and university administrator who is currently the president of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio. Before becoming an administrator, Tressel was the head football coach of the Youngstown State Penguins and later the Ohio State Buckeyes in a career that spanned from 1986 until 2010. Tressel's teams earned several national championships during the course of his career, earning him numerous accolades.

Bill Curry American football player (born 1942)

William Alexander Curry is a retired American football coach and former player.

Jim Crowley American football player and coach

James Harold "Sleepy Jim" Crowley was an American football player and coach. He gained fame as one-fourth of the University of Notre Dame's legendary "Four Horsemen" backfield where he played halfback from 1922 to 1924.

Lee Tressel

Lee Tressel was a football coach and athletic director at Baldwin–Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. Tressel accumulated the most winning record as the head football coach at Baldwin–Wallace. His 1978 team won the NCAA Division III Football Championship, achieved National Coach of that year, and in 1996 was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Aldo Donelli American sportsman

Aldo Teo "Buff" Donelli was an American football player and coach, soccer player, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at Duquesne University from 1939 to 1942, Boston University from 1947 to 1956, and Columbia University from 1957 to 1967, compiling a career college football coaching record of 105–107–8. Donelli was also a head coach in the National Football League (NFL), with the Pittsburgh Steelers for part of the 1941 season and with the Cleveland Rams in 1944, tallying a career mark of 4–11 in the NFL. From 1951 to 1955 he was the athletic director at Boston University. Donelli played college football at Duquesne and was an assistant football coach at his alma mater from 1930 to 1938, before being promoted to head coach. He played soccer with a number of clubs in the 1920s and 1930s and was a member of the United States men's national soccer team during the 1934 FIFA World Cup. He is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Jon Heacock is an American football coach and former player. He is the defensive coordinator at Iowa State University. Heacock served as the head football coach at Youngstown State University from 2001 to 2009, compiling a record of 60–44. He was an assistant coach at Youngstown State for seven seasons under Jim Tressel.

Rick Rhoades is an American football coach who has worked at the high school, college, and professional levels. He served as head football coach at the collegiate level at Troy State University from 1985 to 1987, Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1988, Nicholls State University from 1993 to 1994 and Delta State University from 2002 to 2006.

Jim Heacock is a former American football coach. He served as the head football coach at Illinois State University from 1988 to 1995, compiling a record of 37–49–2. In 1996, he became an assistant coach at Ohio State University and served as the defensive coordinator for the Ohio State Buckeyes from 2005 until his retirement following the 2011 season.

Providence Friars mens basketball Basketball team that represents Providence College

The Providence Friars men's basketball team represents Providence College in NCAA Division I competition. They were a founding member of the original Big East Conference from 1979 until 2013, and are now a member of the current Big East Conference. They play their home games at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Since 2011, the head coach is Ed Cooley.

Youngstown State Penguins football College football team

The Youngstown State Penguins football team represents Youngstown State University in college football. Youngstown State currently plays as a member of the NCAA at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision and are a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC). The Penguins have played their home games in Stambaugh Stadium, more commonly called "The Ice Castle," since 1982.

Katy Easterday

Roy Alexander "Katy" Easterday was an American football and basketball player, track and field athlete, coach, college athletics administrator, and dentist. He played at the halfback position for the Pittsburgh Panthers football teams from 1917 to 1918 and was selected as an All-American in 1918. Easterday served as the head football coach at Simmons College—now known as Hardin–Simmons University in Abilene, Texas—from 1919 to 1920, at Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia from 1922 to 1923, and at Waynesburg College—now known as Waynesburg University—in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania from 1925 to 1927, compiling a career college football record of 25–29–8.

Mike Scarry American football player and coach

Michael Joseph “Mo” Scarry was an American football player and coach. He grew up in Pennsylvania, and played football in college at Waynesburg College in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania and went on to join the Cleveland Rams in the National Football League (NFL) as a center following a stint in the U.S. Army during World War II. The Rams moved to Los Angeles after winning the 1945 NFL championship, and Scarry elected to stay in Cleveland and play for the Cleveland Browns under coach Paul Brown in the new All-America Football Conference (AAFC). The Browns won the AAFC championship in 1946 and 1947 while Scarry was on the team.

Bridgewater State Bears

The Bridgewater State Bears are composed of 22 varsity teams representing Bridgewater State University in intercollegiate athletics. All teams compete at the NCAA Division III level and all teams compete in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), except for field hockey, tennis and swimming & diving which plays in the Little East Conference (LEC).

Gerard Thomas Indelicato is an American academic administrator who served as education advisor to Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis and president of Bridgewater State College. He was convicted on federal and state conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion charges.

Jennifer Kim Mead is an American former soccer player who played as a goalkeeper, making six appearances for the United States women's national team. She also played basketball during her collegiate career.

The 1989 Holy Cross Crusaders football team was an American football team that represented the College of the Holy Cross during the 1989 NCAA Division I-AA football season. Holy Cross swept its conference and won its third Colonial League championship in four years.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "BSC coach honored". Providence Journal. 1989-12-28.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "NCAA Career Statistics". NCAA. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 John Connolly (2003-09-02). "New England Football Conference preview; Still going strong; Bridgewater St.'s Mazzaferro enters 40th year on sideline". Boston Herald.
  4. Paul Harber (2002-07-28). "MAZZAFERRO ENTERS HIS 34TH SEASON". Boston Globe.
  5. 1 2 3 Doug Chapman (1988-08-21). "Mazzaferro returns to pick up the pieces at Bridgewater State". Providence Journal.
  6. Ray Medeiros, Jr. (1989-11-28). "A year to remember at Bridgewater State". Providence Journal.
  8. Paul Harber (1991-11-03). "A veer to that championship season Bridgewater State uses its offense to take control". Boston Globe.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Paul Kenney (2002-08-29). "College Preview 2002: Bridgewater coach keeps rolling along". The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.
  10. Paul Harber (2003-09-28). "MAZZAFERRO NEARS 200TH TRIUMPH". Boston Globe.
  11. John R. Johnson (2005-03-01). "Denune named BSC grid coach; Ex-Bridgewater State assistant, he takes over from Mazzaferro". The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.
  12. 1 2 "Mazzaferro, Lynch tackle awards". Boston Herald. 2004-05-02.
  13. John Johnson (2005-08-25). "COLLEGE PREVIEW '05; Mazzaferro on Nelson's staff". The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.