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Spencerport wrestling coach Bill Jacoutot is 299-28-1 heading into
Wednesday's match at Webster Schroeder. Jacoutot's teams have won 17
Section V crowns. (SOURCE:
D&C, 2/1/06. Photo by Danese Kenon.)
Jacoutot goes to the mat for his athletes
Extra effort pays off as Spencerport coach nears 300th win
Democrat and Chronicle
February 1, 2006
Full Text: Copyright
© 2006 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Company Inc.
He is, by his own admission, a nervous animal — a guy who,
during wrestling matches, divides his time between squatting like a baseball
catcher and pacing like an expectant father.
No wonder, the day after a match, Bill Jacoutot's haunches and vocal cords
usually are spent. By season's end, it's not uncommon for the legendary
Spencerport High School wrestling coach to have dropped eight to 10 pounds.
Sleep is something he doesn't do well until the off-season.
"I'm pretty exhausted when things are all said and done," he says in a Jersey
rasp that makes him sound like Joe Pesci.
"During the season, I'm worrying constantly about my wrestlers. I'll call each
of them a couple of times a week just to check up on them and make sure
everything is going right with wrestling and academics and their lives. I guess
in some ways, I'm just an old worrywart."
Or maybe he just really, really cares.
Which is why, tonight at Webster Schroeder, his wrestlers would love nothing
more than to reward him with the 300th victory of his Spencerport career.
Since replacing another legendary coach, Walt Teike, before the 1981-82 season,
Jacoutot's teams have won 17 Section V titles, strung together 114 consecutive
dual meet victories against Rochester region schools and produced nine
individual state champions. Remarkably, the past quarter century of Rangers
wrestling has yielded only 28 losses and one tie. Ninety percent of the time
There had been a rich tradition at Spencerport before Jacoutot arrived. But this
whirling dervish who was born in Manhattan and raised in New Jersey clearly has
taken the Rangers program to another level.
Jacoutot's extra efforts don't go unnoticed, particularly during matches.
"He's into those as much as the wrestler is," says Justin Linville, who competes
at 171 pounds for Spencerport. "He is so committed to us it's unbelievable. I
feel like he's a second father to me in a lot of ways."
You could say that Jacoutot (pronounced JACK-uh-toe) has had scores of sons
during his 25 years here.
"He's definitely created a family atmosphere," Linville says. "And once you've
wrestled for Spencerport, you are always a member of the family. He believes in
tradition, and in making everyone, past and present, feel a part of it."
Outside the auxiliary gymnasium that serves as the wrestling team's home, you'll
find a wall festooned with photographs, newspaper clippings and plaques. You'll
also see several posters, depicting the wrestlers as everything from bankers to
"They're really popular among the wrestlers and the student body," Jacoutot
says. "The guys' parents and girlfriends love to get copies of them and have
them signed. Each year we come up with a different idea."
It's all part of the atmosphere Jacoutot has worked hard to cultivate. Wrestling
is the glamour sport at Spencerport. Boys grow up dreaming of being on these
mats and posters.
"Tradition doesn't win matches for you — hard work does," Jacoutot says. "But
tradition can help because it can make you work even harder. The current guys
know they are caretakers of something that's been successful here for a long
Success breeds success. It also breeds jealousy.
Spencerport is always the hunted. It is not uncommon for spectators from other
schools to heckle Jacoutot and his wrestlers. Chat rooms occasionally are
cluttered with personal attacks.
"I told our guys that pressure is a privilege," he says. "You speak with your
actions, and if you are fortunate enough to succeed you don't celebrate and show
up your opponent. I'm very big on that.
"You act like you've been there before."
Other teams, though, can't contain themselves on the rare occasions they get the
best of the Rangers.
"Bill clearly has set the standard for wrestling here, and has made every
program try harder to be better," says Hilton coach Chuck Partridge, one of
Jacoutot's close friends.
"The thing about Bill is that his door is always open to other coaches and other
wrestlers through his off-season programs and camps. He has no secrets. He
willingly shares his time and his knowledge. The same parents who scream nasty
things at him during matches are the same parents who make sure their boys
attend Bill's camps."
When he was captain of the University of Buffalo wrestling team during his
senior year in 1974, Jacoutot dreamed of becoming a college coach. He had two
offers to do so while at Spencerport, but decided to stay put and has no
At age 53, he believes he has two more seasons left in him before retirement. He
hopes to go out on a high note.
"My biggest fear is being a bum at the end," Jacoutot says. "My biggest fear
would be not being able to devote the energy and time these kids deserve."
He need not worry about that. His level of energy and devotion remains quite
high, and his legacy is secure regardless of the ending. Bill Jacoutot will
remain the standard-bearer for high school wrestling in Rochester and far beyond
for many years to come.