Huntington High School alum Lou R. Giani has been named head coach of the Blue Devil varsity wrestling team. He replaces fellow grad Travis Smith, who stepped down to coach the mat team at J. Taylor Finley Middle School where he teaches physical education.
Giani is the son and grandson of Huntington wrestling legends. His father, Lou D. Giani, Jr. won 1973 county and state championships for the Blue Devils. His grandfather was Huntington’s head wrestling coach for 38 seasons, compiling a record of 416-32.
Lou D. Giani, Sr. is one of a handful of high school coaches enshrined in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He won a 1959 Pan Am Games gold medal and wrestling for the USA in the 1960 Olympics in Rome
Lou Giani has been named head coach
of Huntington's varsity wrestling team.
Joining Giani on the high school coaching staff for the 2017/18 season will be two more Huntington alums; Kieran Mock and Omar Santiago. Mock won the 1982 county and state championships for the Blue Devils. Santiago was a Suffolk runner-up in 2009.
“It’s exciting to be named the head coach of a program that has enjoyed so much success over the years and which has played such a prominent role in the life of my family,” Giani said. “I’m looking forward to developing a strong team that everyone in the community will be proud of.”
Giani was the county runner-up at 152 lbs. in 2000 as a senior. He went on to compete at SUNY Brockport and earned a master’s degree at Stony Brook University. He teaches physical education at Flower Hill Primary School.
Mock was Huntington’s head coach from 2008/09 to 2012/13 compiling a record of 42-16 over five season. He was an assistant coach for the past four seasons. He wrestled at Drake University, Hofstra University and SUNY Brockport, graduating from the latter with a BS degree in finance.
Santiago wrestled at SUNY Oswego, graduating with a BS degree in technology education in 2014. He taught in Freeport for a year before joining Huntington’s faculty in September 2016. He coached wrestling at Finley last winter.
A 1992 All-County wrestler for the Blue Devils, Smith stepped down as varsity head coach after leading the program for four seasons. The team went 40-13 over that span, including 5-3 last winter. He wrestled at SUNY Brockport, earning a physical education teaching degree there before going on to obtain a master’s degree at Stony Brook University.
Returning to the Finley coaching staff is Mike Marinello. A graduate of Sachem High School, he holds a BS degree from Springfield College and a master’s degree from Stony Brook University. He coached on the high school and middle school levels for Huntington over the past two decades.
Giani’s grandfather was Huntington’s first county champion and his father was the Blue Devils’ first state champ. His uncle, Joe was the program’s first NCAA champion when he won the 150 lb. title for SUNY Brockport, where he was a three-time All-American.
Giani plans to build the program around a core group of returning veteran wrestlers and an extraordinarily talented group of matmen in the pipeline from the Finley program. Some have already arrived as a freshmen while others are still in eighth grade and won’t join the high school program for another season.