Kondikoff to coach Zephs this year
With August marking the time when the Zephyr football team will officially reconvene to prepare for the upcoming fall season, a familiar face will occupy a new role when the pads start popping being the field house.
Justin Kondikoff was named as the head football coach in a June 11 press release, and will become the 17th person to lead the program since they began playing football in 1928.
Kondikoff was named as the head coach on an interim basis given the time frame surrounding Brian Gilbert’s announcement that he was leaving the program to be the new Athletic Director at Palisades. Since that happened late in the school year, the position will be reopened once the 2018 football season ends.
Kondikoff is certainly no stranger to Whitehall football. He has been an assistant coach for the last ten seasons where he was heavily involved in the offense as their receivers coach. His tenure has spanned head coaches Tony Trisciani and Brian Gilbert, and the East Stroudsburg University graduate said that both coaches taught him how to build a successful program.
“We felt coach Kondi was the right guy to get us through this transition,” said Whitehall Athletic Director Robert Hartman via the June 11 press release. “He is an outstanding teacher and coach and has developed outstanding relationships with both our players and coaches. He is smart and organized and will do a good job leading us.”
Kondikoff said that he wants to maintain the success that both coaches brought to the program. He counts both those former head coaches as mentors, and will now incorporate some of their methods, while also infusing his own style, as he embarks on his first season.
Kondikoff’s journey to becoming a head coach was also shaped by his college coach Dennis Douds, who’s been at the helm of the Warriors program since 1974. Through all these associations, Kondikoff has witnessed something that he believes will benefit him as he becomes the new leader of Whitehall’s storied program
“One of the things that I learned was it was important to help kids out both on and off the field,” said Kondikoff. “That’s a big part of what I want to do.”
Kondikoff, who was a wide receiver at ESU, said that he wants to maintain the success of his predecessors and make sure that they’re in position to compete for both a league and district title. He’ll have the support of a coaching staff that has remained basically intact, and he sees that as a big benefit in keeping the program moving forward.
Kondikoff. a 1998 graduate of Nazareth High School, isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel once he takes the reins in August. So don’t expect them to start running the wishbone. They’ll be the same high-powered offense that likes to spread the ball around the field, and with the offseason success of the guys up front, the hogs, the foundation is all ready being laid for another explosive season.
This will be Kondikoff’s first season as a head football coach at any level. He said he is excited for the opportunity and is looking forward to the challenge. He knows the landscape of the league, and what it takes to be competitive every Friday night.
He also knew it was the right time to make his own mark. And like the football team he now leads, he didn’t want any obstacles to stand in the way of his goal.
“There will always be things in your way, but I couldn’t focus on the negatives,” said Kondikoff. “Don’t let those obstacles stop you. Keep moving forward.”