For Sam Fusaro, it was never about him.
It was always about those Bloomfield High School wrestlers.
So it was no surprise that when Fusaro decided to retire after 34 years with the program, the last 25 as the team’s head coach, he told just a few people.
And those few included his immediate family, his wife, Gail, daughters Daniella and Samantha, as well as a few close friends within the Bloomfield coaching staff.
“I didn’t want to make it about me,” said Fusaro, the Belleville High graduate with that high-pitched, non-mistakable voice, that always caught everyone’s attention. “I was given a tremendous opportunity to coach here, to be around some wonderful kids and great coaches. I’m a transparent person, I’m easy to read.”
Fusaro never wrestled in high school, rather he played football and rowed crew. Both of his high school coaches made an immediate impact.
“John Senesky was my football coach,” said Fusaro. “But he’s also my uncle. As John’s nephew, I got no slack. He was tough on me, but always fair, and that’s something I tried to bring to my coaching career.”
Fusaro’s senior year at Belleville High was also Senesky’s first as the varsity football coach. In the spring, Fusaro rowed for another legendary coach, also named Sam.
“Sam Giuffrida was incredible,” said Fusaro. “Again, a man who taught me so much about dealing with people, being fair, but compassionate.”
With such good early influences, Fusaro would go on earn a degree at Seton Hall University. A year later, he would begin a career in education.
Fusaro had wanted to coach football when he landed a job in the Bloomfield school system. But a chance encounter with his principal put him in a different direction.
“Charles Nankerville was my principal, and he told me I’d be coaching a wrestling program in the middle school,” said…