Shiloh has landed a highly touted coach from Florida to lead its high school football program.
The Generals’ administration introduced the players Friday to their new head coach, Tino Ierulli, previously a high school coach in Florida for the past eight seasons. The 46-year-old was head coach for the past five years at Palm Beach Central, leading the program to three district titles and an 11-2 record in 2018.
“Coach Tino is a veteran coach and we looked at his history and he knows how to win,” Shiloh athletic and activities director Robert Wilson said. “When it comes to coaching, it’s a difference when you have an assistant coach or even a head coach who’s been part of a winning program. It’s hard for them to emulate winning because they’ve never done it. He’s been part of big things in Florida, in 8A, their largest classification in Florida.
“That and also it’s hard for football coaches to keep their players down in Florida because of how everything is, with kids being able to transfer around freely. Him being able to keep his star players meant a lot to us. And just his character, his passion. He’s a big family guy. Everybody I talked to, who (Shiloh principal) Dr. (Danyel) Dollard spoke to, had nothing but great things to say about him. I even contacted people who he coached against who said great things.”
The atmosphere in Florida played a role in Ierulli’s move to Georgia. He said a number of his coaching colleagues have moved out of Florida for better coaching situations.
“Our profession at the high school level, it’s been known for a long time, Georgia and Texas, are the places to coach,” Ierulli said. “Florida is very competitive. There are a ton of athletes and phenomenal programs down there. Unfortunately, the support from the district and the state isn’t there. It’s nil. It’s void. It’s nothing. Everything is self-funded. Every athletic program 100 percent funds itself. Our principal was phenomenal, but principals can only do so much.”
Shiloh hopes for improved results and stability from its new coach. The Generals’ last playoff appearance and winning record came in 2003, when they went 6-5. Their previous head coach, Ryan Andrews, went 8-32, including 2-8 last season.
Andrews’ four-year tenure was the longest for a Shiloh head football coach since Charlie Jordan, who led the program from 1989-98. Ierulli is the ninth Shiloh head football coach since Jordan’s retirement.
“After speaking to Coach Wilson, the athletic director, doing research on the program and the area in the past, (Shiloh’s) had a lot of talent,” Ierulli said. “I see they have talent now. I looked through their Hudl film. The athletic director is energetic, the perfect type of AD you want. As a coach, he won seven state championships, so he understands the support you need as a coach. Dr. Dollard is a very sharp lady and she understands what it takes and really understands how athletics impacts the school.
“I don’t know anything about their past, but I know what I’ve done in the past to build programs and become successful. A lot of it is surrounding yourself with a good staff, holding kids accountable and working hard. Setting year-long goals and sticking to it. And becoming a family and a brotherhood.”
Ierulli is a native of Long Island, N.Y., but he moved to Virginia because of his father’s career (as an officer in the U.S. Navy) and went to Green Run High School in Virginia Beach. He also played college football in Virginia at Norfolk State, but relocated to Florida after graduation to work in medical sales.
He got his coaching fix as defensive coordinator and later head coach of the Orlando Guardians semi-professional football team. From there, he switched to a more satisfying career in high school football coaching.
He was assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for three years at a new Florida high school, Lake Minneola, before being hired as head coach at Palm Beach Central. He hopes to replicate the same success with Shiloh in tough Region 8-AAAAAAA with heavyweights like Grayson and Archer.
“I know Georgia’s always had great programs,” Ierulli said. “I’m from South Florida and we’ve got storied programs down there as well. We played against a lot of them and we beat a lot of them. I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge because I know there are some great programs up there. It’s a great opportunity for me to see what I’m about. It’s a challenge, but it’s one I welcome.”
THE IERULLI FILE
Name: Tino Ierulli
New position: Head football coach at Shiloh
Former position: Head football coach at Palm Beach Central (Fla.)
Career record: 34-23
Education: Graduated from Virginia Beach Green Run (Va.) High School; earned health and physical education degree from Norfolk State University; has master’s degree in leadership from South University
Background: Won three district titles the past five seasons as head coach at Palm Beach Central; 2018 team went 11-2; played college football at Norfolk State; coached eight years of semi-pro football for the Orlando Guardians; was assistant coach and defensive coordinator for three years at Lake Minneola (Fla.) High; originally worked in medical sales after college; son Joey just graduated from West Liberty University (W.Va.), where he played football; son Anthony is a college lacrosse player at Keiser University (Fla.)
Family: Wife Josephine; Joey, 21; Anthony, 18, daughter Brooklyn, 9 months