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Article Published February 18, 2020

Mastroianni Resigns as Tigers’ Football Coach, Placed on Leave at Hand

By By Dean Bibens

Following a three-season tenure, Dave Mastroianni resigned as head coach of the Hand football team on Feb. 11 and has since been placed on administrative leave from his position as a social studies teacher at Daniel Hand High School.

The earliest reports of the move were from the Hand Athletic Department, which stated that Mastroianni was stepping down due to health concerns. During the 2019 season, he had been diagnosed for the second time with cancer.

Madison Superintendent of Schools Tom Scarice said in a statement that Mastroianni approached administration late last fall, saying “that due to health reasons he may not be able to continue as the varsity football coach.” Scarice said in the statement that the cancer diagnosis combined with “recent personal issues” resulted in the district and Mastroianni mutually agreeing that he would step down as the football coach.

“[A]dditional information...brought to our attention during the ongoing review of the situation” resulted in Mastroianni being put on administrative leave “with pay, and without prejudice,” according to the statement.

Scarice said in the statement that he could not discuss the personnel matter further, but that “at no point have we received allegations or determined any improper conduct with students.”

When reached by The Source, Mastroianni declined to comment on the situation.

Mastroianni was diagnosed with germ cell cancer when he was Hand’s defensive coordinator in 2012. After beating the disease, he came back and helped the Tigers win the Class L state title that season.

Early in the 2019 campaign, Mastroianni learned that he had cancer of the appendix. He missed a few games and then came back to call plays from the press box when Hand earned a 37-0 victory at West Haven on Nov. 1. Mastroianni returned to the sidelines for the Tigers’ matchup against St. Joseph in the Class L state final, which Hand lost by a 17-13 score.

Mastroianni posted a combined record of 37-2 in his three years as Tigers’ head coach. Hand advanced to the Class L state championship game in all three seasons, winning titles in 2017 and 2018 and going 13-0 during the latter campaign. The Tigers won 36-straight games before losing to St. Joseph in state final last fall.

Former coach Steve Filippone is taking over as the Tigers’ head coach.

Filippone compiled a record of 223-82-5 in his 27-season run as Hand’s head coach. He won seven state championships with the Tigers before retiring after the 2016 season.

“We are most fortunate to have Steve Filippone continue to work in our school over the years since his retirement as head football coach,” Scarice said in the statement, “and we are equally as fortunate to have Steve return as our head varsity football coach.”