It’s a Family Affair at GCC Athletics

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Jonathan Williams

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON: Chris Cicutio, left, and John Cicuto talk baseball at Stengel Field. Chris Cicutio’s Vaqueros are 5-6 and gaining momentum this season.

Kendall Faulkner, Staff Writer

After 14 years of coaching, GCC’s head baseball coach Chris Cicuto has proved that the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Chris Cicuto and athletic director John Cicuto are not only colleagues, but father and son.

“Being with my father is a blessing, it’s unique,” said Chris Cicuto. “He is a mentor to me.”

They have brought a very unique circumstance to Glendale College, a family name and a history. John, who has been on staff at the college for 38 years, brought his son to work with him at the sports department since Chris was born in December 1977.

The elder Cicuto started on the football staff in 1975. He was recruited by a former high school classmate, Jim Sartoris. He spent 14 years as an assistant coach while Sartoris was head coach.

After Chris was born, Sartoris and his wife became his godparents.

Sartoris became Glendale College’s Athletics director in 1988 and hired Cicuto to become the head coach. Sartoris retired in 2007 allowing the opportunity for John Cicuto to become the director of athletics. When he was hired as the athletics director, he remained the head football coach.

“After a year, I couldn’t do the best job, in my mind, as head coach and athletic director,” he said.

He retired from coaching in 2008.

Chris, at just 6 years old, was the ball boy for the football team while his father coached. Years later, the younger Cicuto attended Glendale College for a short period of time as a student and baseball player.

After graduating from UC Riverside in 2000, he was hired as an assistant coach for Glendale. In 2003, he was able to accept the position as Vaquero baseball’s head coach. He became the assistant director of athletics in 2012.

John said, “For a father to come into work everyday with his son is a father’s dream.”

The baseball players take notice of the family environment.

“They’re family oriented,” said Nick Padilla, 20, an infielder for Glendale baseball. “They are big on family, not just their family, but the Vaquero family as well.”

Coach Cicuto has two young children, Jackson, 2, and Samantha, 4. He and his wife Kelly bring their children around the baseball field and the athletics department just like John did with his son.

“How lucky is it? that I can see my grandkids and see my son [at Glendale], it makes me want to stay longer,” said John Cicuto as his face lit up and smiled from ear to ear.

John and Chris hope to bring the feeling of family to all those who they encounter and to build trust with their athletes.

“It’s important to talk about their swing just as much as their home life,” said Chris.

Personal relationship development is something Chris admired about his father and carries over to his team.

The tradition of the Cicutos as coaches and a part of the athletic department has created an influence on many players over the 38 years that the family has been a part of the school and will continue to do so.

“It has been a blessing. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t say ‘thank you’,” John said.