Glen Rock is the Bedrock for '07 Jeffs; Dan Guariglia '08 and Rob Grammer '08

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Many football programs are built on strong foundations, and the 2007 Lord Jeffs are lucky enough to have a pair of senior captains who seem built to lead this program.

Dan Guariglia and Rob Grammer have played on the same football team for the past eight seasons. As classmates at Glen Rock High School in New Jersey, the pair played under the watchful eye of Alan Deaett, Amherst Class of 1967. Deaett, a legendary coach in his area, played at Amherst under the late James Ostendarp, and has been teaching and coaching in N.J. ever since. The pair of seniors follow in the footsteps of not only their high school coach, but also last year’s captain, Mark Hannon ’06, who also played for Deaett at Glen Rock High School.

Part of what makes NESCAC football—and the Amherst program in particular—special is a longstanding history of well-rounded student-athletes who are committed to academic life. Deaett has always kept the Amherst ethos in mind when coaching and teaching at Glen Rock. For years, he taught an Advanced Placement course at the high school, and one year he had the pleasure of having Hannon, Guariglia and Grammer in his class. He remembers the three future Lord Jeff captains as “excellent students, wonderful people and as boys with a great deal of purity.”

While Deaett emphasizes that grades are the most important thing when college coaches call him, he is no slouch on the sideline. During the five-year stint from Hannon’s freshman season to Grammer and Guariglia’s senior year, the team won three state championships. Deaett says that “those boys were the stars of the team. They were exceptional players, and even better people.”

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Because of the coaching Grammer and Guariglia received from Deaett in high school, they were ready to make an almost immediate impact in the Amherst program when they arrived in the fall of 2004. Guariglia was thrown into the fire at left tackle almost immediately, and was starting by week two of his first season. Amherst head coach E.J. Mills describes Guariglia as “extremely mature, and motivated in every aspect of his life.”

The senior tri-captain credits Deaett and Mills for his development on the field and as a person. Guariglia explains, “Coach Deaett, along with the rest of my high school coaches, not only taught us how to win football games, but also how to approach athletics and life with the right attitude. They taught us to work as a team, to never be satisfied and to give all that we have each and every day. This is certainly something that Coach Mills relays to us now.”

At Glen Rock, Guariglia took those lessons to heart, and to practice, and ultimately had a his choice colleges. He chose Amherst over Columbia, and he has made the most of his opportunities here. After a summer internship at Deutsche Bank, Guariglia has an investment banking job lined up after graduation this spring.

Grammer is the lone captain for Amherst on the defensive side of the ball. As a three-year starter in the secondary, Grammer is described by Mills as “a great kid and a pleasure to coach.” While Guariglia chose Amherst, Grammer seemed destined for a Division I-AA team coming out of high school.

Grammer suffered a season-ending injury during the second game of his senior year of high school, from what most bystanders recall as a flagrant kick and a cheap shot. The blow shattered Grammer’s leg—and his chances of playing football at a higher level. The experience toughened Grammer and helped him mature.

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Mills often jokes with the defensive leader about his sometimes awkward movement, a distant remnant of his injury. The coach and player have what Mills describes as “a great relationship. Rob never takes a day off,” Mills explains. “He is a serious student, who I doubt ever misses a single class. If he did, it was probably to do work for another class.” His hard work has paid off, as he has an investment banking job waiting for him at Lehman Brothers.

Like Guariglia, Grammer attributes much of his work ethic and success to Deaett. Grammer shares that “Coach Deaett takes everything he does very seriously, and puts 100 percent in everything he does. What I learned from him was to give my all during all of my endeavors and stay committed to what I believe in.”

Both Guariglia and Grammer have drawn a lot of experience from the Amherst football family, in both high school and college. The pair leads Amherst onto the field this weekend in a grudge match with Middlebury. Last season, the Jeffs fell 7-3 on the road to the Panthers, and both captains seem to have circled the date of the rematch on their calendars.

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Grammer explains that “Middlebury left a bitter taste in our mouths after outworking and outplaying us on their field last year.” He alludes that Amherst is “looking to return the favor at home this Saturday.” Guariglia agrees that “last year’s loss to Middlebury was definitely a disappointment; they played harder and more physically than us, especially on the offensive side of the football. This Saturday, with last year’s result in the back of our minds, I’m sure we will come out and work as hard as we can for a win.”

It is clear from listening to Guariglia and Grammer that the pair has learned a great deal from both Deaett and Mills. The two thriving coaches have passed on the desire and tools for success to these players, who have formed a solid core for the 2007 Amherst football team.