IRVINGTON, NJ – From his days competing in youth ball in the playgrounds of Irvington, to his current task as the head coach at Passaic Valley in Little Falls, Chet Parlavecchio has had some memorable associations in the game of football.
Heck, Parlavecchio, a legendary linebacker at Seton Hall Prep when the school was located in South Orange, had the privilege of suiting up for Tony Verducci at SHP and Joe Paterno at Penn State. And he went on to play briefly in the NFL.
But for Parlavecchio, who graduated SHP in the spring of 1978, a special association has been one he’s had with one of his former players at Irvington High School — Alshermond Singleton. Few people in the pigskin sport have impressed Parlavecchio more than Singleton, a guy who was on a Super Bowl championship team at Tampa Bay.
On May 10, Singleton will be one of the honorees at the 2018 Irvington High School Hall of Fame Dinner.
“This is a well-deserving honor for Alshermond,” said Parlavecchio, who was friends in high school with Tom Verducci, the superb baseball writer for Sports Illustrated. “I was lucky to have the honor to coach Alshermond for two years in high school, and I also had him for a year when I was an assistant coach at Temple University.”
Parlavecchio, who always respected the people who played football the “right way,” was impressed with Singleton right from the start of his junior campaign in the early 1990s.
“You could see that Alshermond had great ability,” reflected Parlavecchio, who played on two unbeaten teams at SHP. “I also liked the fact that he was so coachable and showed great intelligence on the field.
“As far as his skills went, I liked the fact that he had such great hands. Al had what I would call lean strength, and that’s pretty special.”
In high school at Irvington, Singleton got to hone his skills on the gridiron by playing against some very tough competition.
“The Watchung Conference was just loaded,” said Parlavecchio, who coached a state championship team at Elizabeth. “I don’t think there was an easy opponent on the schedule.
“In the two years that Al played for me at Irvington, we were only 9-9 I think. But I doubt that there was a better .500 team in New Jersey. One year we almost upset a great Union High club, but a two-point try late in the game just fell a tad short. We knew that we could compete against anyone with players like Singleton on our squad.”
Parlavecchio, who calls Singleton “a fine man,” says his relationship with the former IHS player has been like a father/son one.
“You couldn’t have a better friend than Alshermond,” said Parlavecchio, who took great pride at SHP when Verducci’s squad completely shut down its opponents, which was quite often. “He served briefly at PV as an assistant coach for me, and that was quite a thrill.”
In college ball, Singleton went up against top competition in the Big East Conference. But that only helped him get ready for a career in the NFL.
“Al could always make the big plays at his position,” said Parlavecchio, who has coached at several schools. “In high school he helped out as a tight end to go along with his efforts at linebacker.
“What also impressed me about Alshermond was that he became a very good student. He was just so dedicated to whatever he was faced with in life.”
GRID NOTES – Parlavecchio enjoys watching hockey as much as football… Tampa Bay beat Oakland in the 2003 Super Bowl, 48-21, to finish 15-4.