By Gabriel Kashuba
After 20 seasons as the head coach of the varsity boy’s soccer team, Gil Palladino has done something that not even he thought was possible when he started coaching. Palladino won his 300th game on Oct. 4 when Clinton hosted Sherburne-Earlville.
“Three-hundred is a big number,” Palladino said, adding: “That’s a lot of years and a lot of good teams.”
Number 300 came in a game that was a defensive struggle from the start.
Great play in the goal by Max Huckaby helped seal the win, as he recorded his third shutout of the season.
Clinton was able to squeeze out the 1-0 win in part to a Ben Owens goal off an assist from Gavin Gleasman nine minutes into the first half.
The goal by Owens was, in a way, bittersweet for Palladino:
“Tom Owens is my best friend and for Ben, his son, to score the goal that ended up getting me to 300 is something special,” he said. “To get the win with this team was special. I couldn’t be happier to get it with these guys. They have great chemistry and i wouldn’t have wanted to get it with anyone else.”
In the 37 years that Clinton has had a boy’s soccer program, no one has coached more games than Palladino. Out of the 728 games played in Clinton’s history, Palladino has coached 396 of those games.
He is the only coach to take Clinton to a regional championship and win, and the only coach to make the state final four with Clinton, having done that last year.
Palladino’s record over his 20 years at the helm of Clinton boy’s soccer is a staggering 300-74-22. Not once in that 20 years has a team coached by Palladino not made sectionals.
Palladino’s record speaks to more than just wins and loses though. Every team that he has coached has been named a NYS Scholar Athlete Team. That’s 20 years of coaching kids who succeed on the field and in the classroom.
His impact is felt in places that far outreach just Clinton.
“Gil is a great guy,” John Rathbun, Executive Director at Section III Athletics, said in an email, adding: “He has done wonders for the sport of soccer in Section III and the Clinton area.”
With the win against Sherburne-Earlville, Clinton improves to 8-3-1 on the season and more importantly 6-0-1 in the Center State Conference.
With four games remaining in the regular season Clinton looks to add a few more wins to their coaches record.
The next home game for the team is Oct. 12 against Adirondack at 4:30 p.m. It will be senior day for the team and Palladino’s 399th game as head coach for Clinton.