The voice sounds the same and you can immediately recall the face.
It has been a while since Peter Coluccini was a three-sport standout at John Jay High School in Cross River, but his feelings for the school and its sports’ programs run as deep today as when he earned Section I boys’ lacrosse player of the year honors back in 2004.
Now 34, married for two years to Katherine and expecting to become a father to a son in a month or so, Coluccini is doing well, thank you — even if he has put away most of his athletic equipment, perhaps saving it for his son to use one day down the road in the not-too-distant future.
“One thing I have learned over the years is that time is fleeting, it goes by really fast,” Coluccini said.
The Coluccinis live in Fairfield County, Connecticut, with their two dogs, Nike and Gordon.
“We moved here about two years ago,” Coluccini said. “For the most part, my athletic shoes are hung up. I played some men’s league hockey over in Danbury and Katonah for a while, and I am looking for a spot to play over here.” He also coaches lacrosse from time to time, he added.
Coluccini played lacrosse at Syracuse University and The Ohio State University as a goalie, It was through the sport that he met his future wife, with an assist from Nick Daniello, a former John Jay teammate who is now the driving force behind the Prime Time elite travel lacrosse program based in Katonah.
“She used to do stuff for Nick and Prime Time during the summer and I met her at one of the evaluation sessions during the summer” in 2015, he recalled. “I was very fortunate that she was the one that asked me out because I was too much of a coward to ask her out.”
Coluccini added, “If you ask Nick, it was all because of him.”
Daniello is, perhaps, the teammate from his days at Jay with whom he remains closest.
“I have known Nicky since he moved up (to Katonah) from Harrison in the eighth grade,” Coluccini said. “We have remained close through college and after college. I look at the entire Daniello family as my extended family — their mother, Mike, Christian.”
Coluccini has also remained tight with Ricky and Ryder Bohlander.
“I see a lot of guys from time to time,” Coluccini said. “It’s kind of funny because over time, people seem to go their separate ways and take their own paths but when you do see them, you appreciate the tie even more.”
Coluccini is not surprised that Ryder Bohlander, as well as Mike Bocklet, both former lacrosse and football teammates at John Jay, have become college coaches — Bohlander at Manhattanville and Bocklet at State University of New York at Purchase College.
“Ryder and Mike were both really good, exceptional leaders,” Coluccini said.
He went on, “You never really know what paths someone will take. We all develop as we get older. I look at myself and I have changed so much just over the last 10 years.”
At Syracuse, Coluccini studied supply chain management and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in the field, leaving in 2008 for Ohio State, where he spent a year completing a master’s degree in workforce development education.
Over the years, he has worked as an analyst at Diamondback Capital Management and a vice president at MC Square Capital. He was also one of the founders of XTECH Protective Equipment, which produces sports gear. In February he was appointed chief financial officer of Group C, the largest food service provider in the Northeast.
“I got introduced to the owners, we hit it off and they offered a position,” he said. It was a move to the private sector, and I am really enjoying it.”
Looking back on his days at Jay, Coluccini can attest to being part of the renaissance of the school’s athletics’ teams. He played a role in the rejuvenation of the football program under head coach Jimmy Clark and was part of the hockey teams that began to push the program to higher expectations while playing under a trio of head coaches — Eric Linkowski, Chris Huntington and Alex Smith.
The boys’ lacrosse program was already well-established, but its run under head coach Nick Savastano raised the bar for Jay.
Coluccini smiles when he looks at what these programs have achieved in recent years.
“The lacrosse team has played for state championships, so did the hockey team — and the football team has made it to the state tournament,” he said. “That’s quite an accomplishment.”
Coluccini credits the coaching staffs for this success, but also recognizes that the paths forward are paved by those who played before and local youth programs.
“I do think that success seems to come in waves at schools,” he said. “You have to try to build off of what the people before you did. You also have to have the right work ethic.”
Coluccini continued, “Jay has also done a great job cultivating the youth programs. I think that my group, way back then, built a sample size of what can be expected.”
He added, “When you get older and sit back at look at it, you realize just how much goes into it from everybody involved to have success.
Coluccini feels fortunate about the coaches he had at Jay.
“Jimmy (Clark) was a great coach and, more importantly, a great guy,” Coluccini said. “He has changed with the times and he sure has a way to keep the kids motivated. To be a head coach at any sport and at any level as he has is very impressive.”
Clark has been the head coach at John Jay since 2002.
Coluccini only had Smith as his hockey coach his first year, 2001, on the ice for Jay.
“I knew coach Smith as my history teacher,” Coluccini said. “To see what he did with the hockey program is just unbelievable. Right now, it is one of the best programs in the state.”
He continued, “It has always been difficult within Section I to cultivate a good hockey program because we always seemed to have kids leaving for prep schools, and we just didn’t have the depth to make over for that type of a loss. Somehow, (Smith) found a way to keep that core group together and it speaks volumes for the program. The kids want to stay, not leave.”
Coluccini also had good things to say about the Savastanos — Nick and his brother and assistant coach Vinny.
“Three or four years ago, I saw them at a lacrosse tournament and they looked exactly like when I played for them,” Coluccini said. “They are both great coaches and great mentors and I am glad to see that they are doing really well at JFK (John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers) and building an unbelievable program over there.”
After Jay, Coluccini skipped a year in 2005 before taking over as Syracuse’s starting goalie in 2006. He led the Orange to the NCAA semifinals, where they lost to Virginia. Coluccini was also the starter in 2007. A year later, in 2008, he appeared in two games, finishing his three-year career at Syracuse with a lifetime mark of 15-13.
He also made one appearance in goal for Ohio State in 2009.
“Playing a Division 1 sport is difficult, but it prepares you for having a job, I think, in many ways,” Coluccini said. “I know that you always want sports to be fun, but you have to raise the competitiveness in college. In high school, you are among a smaller group, but, in college, you have to hit that reset button because everyone is good.”
He continued, “Sports at the D-1 level is a money generating business for colleges. If you don’t perform, you’re not playing. In high school, you have a bad game and you move on, it’s OK. In college, you have a few bad games and you lose your spot. Having to keep battling through this either can exhaust you and burn you out mentally, or you rise to the challenge and push yourself even more.”
Playing a sport on the college level, though, does teach the student-athlete valuable lessons.
“It helps you budget your time and it teaches you about work ethic,” Coluccini said. “You learn that you have to put 100% in to get the most out of it. All the trials and tribulations that you experience as an athlete in college helps you when you go out into the world and start a career.”