CLYDE — The name Nick DerCola has been synonymous with Clyde-Savannah football for the better part of a half-century.
DerCola built a powerhouse during his time as coach there, and his son and namesake spent the last decade and a half bringing the Golden Eagles back to prominence.
Now 65, the younger DerCola has decided to step down as the program’s head coach.
“I will be retiring from teaching, also,” DerCola said, “and felt like it was the time to ‘do something different.’ Kids have changed over the years, and it was becoming harder to work with those changes. At 65 years old, it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.”
DerCola has 40 years of coaching experience in North Carolina, South Carolina and New York. In addition, he spent six years coaching at the collegiate level.
In his tenure for the gold and purple, he amassed a 79-37 overall, highlighted by two of the program’s 15 sectional titles. Despite coaching many great teams and being on the sidelines for plenty of thrilling games, he has one team in particular that stuck out to him.
“All the teams over the years have something special about them,” DerCola added. “There will always be an extra special memory of the two teams that won sectional titles, but all the teams had some great memories.
“It’s very hard to pick a particular game(s), and the two title games were very special, but one that really kind of sticks with me was the semifinal game of 2015. We played Avon, who was ranked No. 1 in Class D, and we won 35-7. It was incredible to watch that team dominate on both sides of the ball.”
The Golden Eagles have produced many fine student-athletes that have gone on to forge stellar college careers, including the likes of Derrick Chance (Brockport), Matt Munson (Alfred State) and John Fasano (Hobart). However, one player in particular that stood out to DerCola was Tony Drahms.
“I was very fortunate to coach a lot of great athletes over my years here at Clyde-Savannah,” he said. “The one that stands out as being the most coachable was one of my quarterbacks named Tony Drahms. Tony knew what every player in every position was suppose to do on every play, not only on offense but also on defense. He was truly a coach on the field. He even corrected me a few times when I called the wrong formation for a play. Also, and I’m not entirely sure, but I believe he was at the top of his class academically.
“He was the ultimate student-athlete.”
There will be aspects of the game that DerCola will miss come this fall.
“The only thing that I believe I’ll miss will be Friday nights,” he added. “The game was always the highlight of the week, and I’ll miss that. I won’t miss all the preparation that goes into that, both on and off the field and in-season and out of season.”
DerCola is looking forward to his upcoming days of retirement.
“In retirement I’m going to take it one day at a time and do what I want to do that day,” he said. “It will include quite a few rounds of golf, spending time with family — especially my grandchildren — and spending my winters where there is no snow.”
Steve Record, who has worked with DerCola for 14 years, will become the Golden Eagles’ new head coach.