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NT school board appoints Jantzi as football coach

Eric Jantzi is officially back coaching at the school where he experienced his greatest success as the leader of a football program.

On Wednesday night, the North Tonawanda School Board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Jantzi and four of his longtime assistants to fill the openings of varsity coach as well as junior varsity.

Jantzi guided North Tonawanda to a 13-0 record and the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association Class AA championship in 2009. He coached with the program for 11 seasons, stepping down in 2010 to spend more time with his family.

He kept involved in the game as an assistant at Orchard Park (2011-13 and 2017) and Springville (2014) before taking over as head coach at his alma mater, Springville, in 2015 for two seasons as then head coach Rob Valenti opted to step down to a role of an assistant after his wife gave birth to twins.

However, the reunion didn't last as Jantzi stepped down for logistical reasons after 2016 – he is a full-time biology teacher at NT, which has a later dismissal for its students than Springville. The dismissal issue often resulted in Jantzi being late for practices and off-season workouts, especially when factoring the commute from NT to Springville.

Richard Tomm, Corey Zayats and Christopher Cook were appointed as varsity assistants as part of the vote, while current boys basketball coach Ryan Mountain and former NT hoops coach and current Niagara Wheatfield pilot Erik O'Bryan were approved as head coach and assistant, respectively, of the junior varsity team.

Jantzi succeeds Dan Troy, who served as interim coach last season for the ailing Henry Fumerelle. Fumerelle missed the three-win campaign after suffering serious injuries in a car accident.

However, NT Schools Superintendent Greg Woytila said Tuesday that Fumerelle was one of two finalists for the position, which is a one-year appointment. Woytila said it was a tough call but opted to recommend Jantzi for the vacancy.

Fumerelle guided NT to winning records in 2015 and '16 and playoff appearances. The veteran coach, whose previous stops include Williamsville East, St. Mary's and Tonawanda, amassed an 11-6 record with the Lumberjacks.

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