PHILADELPHIA, PA. -- Following a recent recruiting trip to northern New Jersey, Rocky Bellantoni did something he could not usually do.
Bellantoni made the trip to his childhood home in Port Chester to visit his mom and sister.
Since Bellantoni joined the Villanova football coaching staff as the defensive line coach and special teams coordinator in February, the former Port Chester standout has been enjoying the two-hour car ride from his native hometown. It beats the 13-hour drive from his former college, Eastern Illinois University.
That is one of the positive aspects being so close to home and there is so much more for my wife and four kids to do here, Bellantoni said.
Bellantoni left Eastern Illinois after 11 years, where he served as defensive coordinator and associate head coach. While he enjoyed his time there, Bellantoni is happy to be working for Villanova football coach Andy Talley.
When the opportunity came up at Villanova to work with the all-time winningest coach in Division I-AA in coach Talley, I jumped at it, Bellantoni said. It is great for me to learn from him.
When Bellantoni, who started his college coaching career at Buena Vista Univesity (Iowa) before going to Drake University, interviewed with Talley, he was told of the special teams position, also.
I had never coached special teams before, said Bellantoni laughing. I was a little leary because the only time the special teams coach gets recognized is when things go bad. It was out of my comfort zone, but I feel comfortable and it is a very good experience for me.
Bellantoni said he knew many members of the coaching staff, including Brian Flinn (wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator), who he worked with at Drake and Eastern Illinois.
They are a great bunch of guys and I enjoy working with and learning from them, Bellantoni said. I am going to give everything to Villanova as a coach and see what the future holds.
This summer has held numerous visits with Bellantonis mom and sister, between going home and them going to his home.
Its great to be around my family, Bellantoni said.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.