VIDEO: MCC AD Mike Riazzi Helps Kids Achieve Goals
By SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME // May 6, 2014
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: Mike Riazzi has led the Melbourne Central Catholic athletic department for almost a quarter century.
MIKE RIAZZI – 2014 INDUCTEE
• Longtime Athletic Director
• MCC Head Football Coach
• Playoffs 5 Consecutive Years
OVERSEES 34 TEAMS, 18 SPORTS
Being able to use the Rose Bowl as a training facility must be the fantasy of many a high school football coach around the country. For Mike Riazzi, it was reality.
Riazzi, current football coach and athletic director at Melbourne Central Catholic High School, worked for four years at John Muir High School in Pasadena, California.
“It was where Jackie Robinson went to high school and it was the closest high school to the Rose Bowl,” said Riazzi.
“We would train at the Rose Bowl and we played a couple of city championships there.”
Despite the glamor of the legendary football stadium, Riazzi hated to leave Brevard, home of Melbourne Central Catholic, the high school Riazzi joined as faculty in 1987.
“It was heartbreaking to leave so many great friends,” he said.
He would return to MCC after a four-year stint in California and later Texas, where he was principal, athletic director and coach at a catholic school in Bryan College Station.
He has clocked in a total of 24 years with MCC athletics, and Riazzi’s clock plans to continue ticking for quite a lot more in the future.
Born in Winter Park, Riazzi attended high school in Bristol, Tennessee, before moving back to the Sunshine State to play baseball at Seminole Community College and Jacksonville University.
“Jacksonville University didn’t have a football team at the time, so I played baseball and rugby,” he said.
“I was also fortunate enough to be able to intern for two seasons as football coach for the freshman team at Terry Parker High School.”
The internship led to his appointment with MCC and 16 years of coaching and teaching before heading west for four. Since he returned to MCC seven years ago, Riazzi has guided a corps of 70 coaches who oversee 34 teams in 18 sports.
CREDITS COACHES FOR SUCCESS AT MELBOURNE CENTRAL CATHOLIC
Riazzi credits his coaching staff for the Hustlers’ winning ways.
Riazzi also appreciates the close partnership his sports teams have with neighboring Florida Tech.
“They invite us to coaches’ clinics and spring training,” he said.“I can just pick up the phone and talk football with them.”
Last season’s undefeated regular season and 11-1 overall record in 2013 was typical of the Hustler prowess Riazzi has nurtured. The Hustlers, familiar faces at playoffs, went on to win one of the playoffs games.
“We’ve been to the playoffs for the last five consecutive years,” said Riazzi.
Mike is not the only sports groupie in the family. Wife Tracy plays a mean game of basketball and son Patrick was a swimmer at MCC. The eighteen-year-old now attends Eastern Florida State College and on weekends heads for Disney World, where he works as a character attendant.
“Athletic directors will tell you that a lot of our time is spent watching our own teams,” he said.
The modest Riazzi feels he has been blessed to be able to work among great athletes and great coaches in great locations.
“I’ve been able to coach teams in Florida, California and Texas, which I consider the top football-playing states in the country,” he said.
“At Melbourne Central Catholic, we graduate great kids. If they want athletics, we help them achieve that goal.”
THE 2014 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 9 with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. – and dinner and ceremony at 7 p.m.
FOR INFORMATION & TICKETS to the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Induction dinner call 321-615-8111 or e-mail MaverickMultimedia@gmail.com