Strengthening Connections

Mistretta, 2015 JHS Graduate, Is Part-Time Assistant Strength Coach At Yankees’ Tampa Facility

Joe Mistretta won a football state championship with Jamestown in 2014. P-J file photo

I remember the day quite well. It was summer 2012, and Jamestown’s annual LucyFest was going on downtown. In fact, members of the Jamestown High School football team were involved in some of the activities at Tracy Plaza.

At the suggestion of Red Raiders’ coach Tom Langworthy, I decided to see what the young men were up to. Ultimately, I ran into several of the players, including Joe Mistretta. During my conversation with him — it was our very first interaction because I wasn’t covering Jamestown football in that era — I asked Joe what his plans were for college, assuming that he would be graduating in June 2013.

Joe politely informed me that he was only going to be a sophomore in high school.

Even then, Joe cast an imposing figure.

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Joe Mistretta

Joe’s football resume is pretty impressive. It includes being part of Jamestown’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship team in November 2014, as well as being named first-team all-state lineman. His number — 72 — has been retired and it hangs on the back of the bleachers at the Red Raiders’ football home, Strider Field. He went on to Edinboro University where he graduated in three years — he played football for two – and earned a degree in human performance.

But the son of Dave and Susan Mistretta wasn’t done pursuing his education. Like his time on the gridiron, especially when he wore the Red & Green, Joe is attacking his course work with a vengeance.

It’s paying off in a big way.

How so?

Well, last December he became a certified strength and conditioning specialist. A month later, he started his master’s program in exercise and nutrition science at the University of Tampa.

It’s been full steam ahead ever since.

In the spring, Joe served as a strength coach at the University of Tampa. That morphed into a job/internship as the head strength coach for a high school football team in Lakeland, Florida; and just recently he started working with the New York Yankees as a part-time assistant strength coach at the team’s training facility, also in Tampa.

“The alumni at the University of Tampa has a lot of good connections,” Joe said. ” … The alumnus who went through the (master’s) program a few years ago is currently either the Single A or Double A strength coach with the Yankees. He let me know they were looking for another spot.”

After a series of emails, Joe sent his resume the Yankees, went through the interview process and, in the end, he was awarded with the job.

“I’ll be there throughout the summer,” he said. “From there, they re-evaluate what they’re looking like, how I’m doing and we’ll go from there.”

Typically, Joe works 20 hours a week, but it can be more depending on the Yankees’ needs.

“I’ve always wanted to be a head strength coach,” he said. “Before this position (with the Yankees), I was probably looking toward the NFL or a big-time Division I college (football) program. What we’re doing with MLB is really cool. I just want to be the head man in a big-time program or professional sport.”

Joe expects to complete his master’s degree by January 2020. In the meantime, he’ll continue his grueling schedule, which includes three days a week at the Lakeland high school; three days a week at the Yankees’ training facility; and a little personal training thrown in for good measure.

“I work all seven days of the week,” Joe said with a chuckle.

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The Jamestown High School Class of 2015 was a special collection of talent, but not just for what they did on the football field.

“I think it just goes to show we were all raised well,” Mistretta said. “We had supportive groups throughout — between our teachers in high school and middle school, and our amazing coaches in the sports we played. That all helped create the success we’ve had in all the endeavors right now.”

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