HILLIARD, Ohio (WCMH) — Legendary Mentor football coach Steve Trivisonno retired after the 2019 football season at just 56 years old. He coached the Cardinals for 23 seasons leading them to 209 wins, 16 playoff appearances and four state championship appearances.
Trivisonno and his wife, Pam, had big plans for their first fall without football in decades — a trip to Italy. After returning from Italy, they were going to travel around the United States and see some of Coach Trivisonno’s former players who are now playing in the NFL and college.
But those travel plans got cancelled because of COVID-19.
Instead, a new adventure fell into the Trivisonno’s laps: becoming grandparents.
“All of a sudden my daughter announced she was having a baby in late September, early October, so obviously my wife and I want to be down there for that,” Trivisonno said.
Instead of a trip across the pond, the Trivisonno’s made a move south to central Ohio to be near both of their daughters. They bought a condo in Hilliard where their daughter, Kari, is a middle school teacher in the Hilliard Bradley school district and Hilliard Bradley head football coach Mike LoParo didn’t wait long to reach out.
“I think [Kari] ran into Coach LoParo at I think somewhere over the by the gym or something, and he had heard that we bought a condo and that we were moving down here,” Trivisonno said. “He talked to her a little bit. He was asking, ‘Will he coach? What does he want to do?’ and she said, ‘Why don’t you just call him?’ And he did.”
LoParo is entering his 10th season as head coach of the Jaguars and had high praise for Trivisonno.
“He’s a legendary coach. He’s going to be a hall of famer,” LoParo said. “He’s been in four state titles, won 209 games. Adding him and what he can bring to the table as a football coach anyone would want to learn from that guy. So, I just took it upon myself to reach out to him and hopefully I can learn from him and he can make our program better.”
Trivisonno said he’s excited to be a coordinator and not the head coach because for the first time in years, he can focus mostly on football without worrying about other commitments that come with being a head coach.
“You get a little bit more into the X’s and O’s instead of handling fundraising and dealing with parents and the administration and issues and problems,” he said. “Now, I get to coach a little bit more and get with the kids a little bit more so looking forward to that.”
Trivisonno is also looking forward to diving into developing and mentoring the coaches, something he says he’s has had his eye on doing for a while and was a big reason for him joining LaParo at Hilliard Bradley.
“I think what really intrigued me the most about it is coach [LaParo] wanted to pick my brain and see how we did things,” Trivisonno said. “I’ve said all along even when I was retiring, one of the things I thought about becoming is an assistant AD where I can go work with coaches and work with programs. Get in and help people.”
His purpose all comes back to developing kids as more than just successful football players and prepare them to be successful adults.
“He’s a great mentor and leader of young people,” LoParo said. “Right now, I don’t think we can put enough great people around these young men to help guide them and teach them as they go.”
Trivisonno has done plenty of winning as a football coach but he says nothing matters to him more than teaching his players how to become young men.
“It’s one of those games that just teaches an amazing amount of lessons,” he said. “We’re not doing enough of that in America today, teaching the kids how to be disciplined and on time, how to work hard and the ups and downs of a football game. One minute you’re high, the next minute you’re low and you’ve got to learn how to do that. I think that’s the greatest part of it. I think there’s so much to the game of football beyond everybody there cheering and all that. It’s about the life lessons that it teaches and that makes it really, really special to me.”