William Floyd’s 37-15 win over Ward Melville on Saturday was no ordinary victory for longtime Colonials Coach Paul Longo.
The triumph — his 212th in 27 years of coaching — made him the winningest public school football coach in Suffolk County history. It was a record previously held by former Bellport Coach Joe Cipp Jr.
While the honor is Longo’s, he feels credit and appreciation should be spread far and wide.
“I look at it more as a program milestone, for all the great coaches I’ve hired over the years and all the hard work of the players, the tremendous support of the administration and the parents,” Longo said. “I think it’s something that should be celebrated by everybody who put in so much time and work.”
As a child, it was watching football with his father — who enjoyed witnessing Floyd games from the sidelines — that ignited Longo’s love for the game. Longo cites time at the field and in front of the television with his old man as a big influence on him, despite the fact they rooted for different teams. “He was a Giants fan, I was a Jets fan,” he said.
Longo’s passion for the game turned into a celebrated coaching career. In 2007, Sports Illustrated ranked his squad as one of the 25 best teams in the country. Longo led the Colonials on an incredible winning stretch during the late 00’s — including a 42-game winning streak that lasted from 2005 through 2008, a Long Island football record.
Off the field, Longo was a guidance counselor at William Paca Middle School for 33 years. He noted that counseling provided invaluable skills for his success as a coach.
“I think great communication with my players is something I bring to the table for my players,” he said. “I can sit down and talk to them.”
Saturday’s rainy day matchup on Longo’s home turf was the final game of the Division I regular season. On Saturday, Nov. 6, Floyd (7-1) hosts Brentwood (4-4) in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. Longo is pursuing his 14th Suffolk title and sixth Long Island Class I championship.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and I still have the same enthusiasm I had as when I first got the job,” Longo said. “I love it, I love the kids in the district.
“I’d like to win some more county championships and Long Island championships with them, and I think we have a shot. I think we should be very good for years to come,” he added.
Top: Coach Paul Longo (left) courtesy of William Floyd School District.