Peter Mazzaferro

Last updated
Peter Mazzaferro
Sport(s) Football, basketball
Biographical details
Born (1930-06-24) June 24, 1930 (age 88)
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
Overall 209–157–11 (college football)
14–66 (college basketball)

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 209–157–11.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Bridgewater, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Bridgewater is a town located in Plymouth County, in the state of Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the town's population was 26,563. Bridgewater is located approximately 25 miles (40 km) south of Boston and approximately 35 miles east of Providence, Rhode Island.

College football collegiate rules version of American/Canadian football, played by student-athletes of American/Canadian colleges and universities

College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.


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]

Torrington, Connecticut City in Connecticut, United States

Torrington is the largest city in Litchfield County, Connecticut and the Northwest Hills region. It is also the core city of Greater Torrington, the largest micropolitan area in the United States. The city population was 36,383 according to the 2010 census.

Centre College college in Kentucky

Centre College is a private liberal arts college located in Danville, Kentucky, a community of approximately 16,000 in Boyle County, about 35 miles (55 km) south of Lexington, Kentucky. Centre is an undergraduate four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 1,400 students. Centre was founded by Presbyterian leaders, and it maintains a loose affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). It was officially chartered by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1819. The college is a member of the Associated Colleges of the South and the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities.

Danville, Kentucky City in Kentucky, United States

Danville is a home rule-class city in Boyle County, Kentucky, United States. It is the seat of its county. The population was 16,690 at the 2015 Census. Danville is the principal city of the Danville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Boyle and Lincoln counties.

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]

A master's degree is an academic degree awarded by universities or colleges upon completion of a course of study demonstrating mastery or a high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice. A master's degree normally requires previous study at the bachelor's level, either as a separate degree or as part of an integrated course. Within the area studied, master's graduates are expected to possess advanced knowledge of a specialized body of theoretical and applied topics; high order skills in analysis, critical evaluation, or professional application; and the ability to solve complex problems and think rigorously and independently.

Richard F. MacPherson was an American football coach. He served as the head coach at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1971 to 1977 and at Syracuse University from 1981 to 1990, compiling a career college football record of 111–73–5. MacPherson was the head coach of the National Football League's New England Patriots from 1991 to 1992, tallying a mark of 8–24. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2009.

College Football Hall of Fame College sports hall of fame in Atlanta, Georgia

The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and interactive attraction devoted to college football. The National Football Foundation (NFF) founded the Hall in 1951 to immortalize the players and coaches of college football.

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]

Waynesburg University private university

Waynesburg University is a private university founded in ca. 1850 and located in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. The university offers undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations, and enrolls over 2,500 students, including approximately 1,800 undergraduates.

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]

Curry College Private liberal-arts based institution in Milton, MA

Curry College is a private college in Milton, Massachusetts. It was founded as the School of Elocution and Expression by Anna Baright in 1879. In 1885 it was taken over and renamed by Samuel Silas Curry.

Milton, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Milton is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States and an affluent suburb of Boston. The population was 27,003 at the 2010 census. Milton is the birthplace of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush and architect Buckminster Fuller. In 2007, 2009, and 2011, Money magazine listed Milton 7th, 5th, and 2nd, respectively, on its annual list of the "Best Places to Live" in the United States.

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

Beaver Falls High School

Beaver Falls High School is a public high school in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, United States. It is the only high school in the Big Beaver Falls Area School District. Athletic teams compete as the Beaver Falls Tigers in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League.

Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania City in Pennsylvania, United States

Beaver Falls is a city in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 8,987 at the 2010 census. It is located 31 miles (50 km) northwest of Pittsburgh, and on the Beaver River, six miles (9 km) north of its confluence with the Ohio River.

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

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  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.