Dave Scott

General Amherst staff, students hit the volleyball court in memory of former teacher



By Ron Giofu


Staff and students at General Amherst High School had a chance to gain calories in one gymnasium and work them off in the next, all in the name of fundraising.

The local public high school held a fundraiser which included a staff-student volleyball game in the main gymnasium and a bake sale in the smaller gymnasium. Proceeds will benefit the local chapter of the ALS Society.

This year’s event was originated by students Celina Varacalli and Katie McEvoy, and those two students brought the idea to the school’s fitness and recreational leadership class. Varacalli and McEvoy said the fitness and recreational leadership class did a lot of the work in organizing the event.

General Amherst teacher Jeff Miller hits a ball over the net during a recent staff-student volleyball game. The event raised over $2,000.

“We had a lot of hands on deck this year,” said Varacalli.

Varacalli noted that last year’s event raised about $1,300 and featured a walkathon and T-shirt sales. This year’s event topped $2,000.

While T-shirts were also available this year, they wanted to change things up and chose the bake sale and staff-student volleyball game that came as part of suggestions from the rest of the student body.

“We picked the ideas we liked,” said McEvoy.

McEvoy said the event was in memory of long-time coach and teacher Dave Scott, who had ALS and died last year.

“It’s great to give back to the community,” McEvoy added.

General Amherst High School held a bake sale as part of their fundraiser for the ALS Society, in
memory of former teacher/coach Dave Scott. From left: Lexi Newhook, Katie McEvoy, Grace Duggan, Celina Varacalli and Alyssa Jones.

Varacalli added they hope to keep the spirit alive to future Bulldogs. Both McEvoy and Varacalli gave credit to the fitness and recreational leadership class for their work in presenting the event.

Teacher Greg Scott said his students get an opportunity to work on such projects and when Varacalli and McEvoy came forward, they treated them as their clients and worked on their behalf. He added it took about three weeks to come together and groups worked on their own to complete the projects.

Local coach to be inducted into Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame



By Ron Giofu


A coach who has led General Amherst High School basketball teams to numerous boys and girls championships is getting a significant honour himself.

Domenic Silvaggio will be inducted into the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame this fall. The news went public last week that Silvaggio will be part of the class of 2018.

Silvaggio got the word in late-June that he was likely to be inducted this year and the official word came last week. He will be inducted as part of the builder’s category.

“It was kind of nice to hear, that’s for sure,” he said.

Silvaggio added he was at a “loss for words” when the call came that he was a soon-to-be Hall of Famer.

“There’s been quite a few people asking me about it (in past years),” he said. “I said it’s something I have no control over. If it comes, it comes.”

Now that the honour has come, Silvaggio is sharing it with many of his peers. That includes many coaches within the elementary and the Amherstburg Basketball Club system especially those who were involved with both systems including Karl Wightman, Frank Palumbo, Vic DiNardo, Jim Belcher, Dale Prisley, John VandeBovenkamp, Tim Dodds, Amy Bondy and Brad Bondy.

Among those that helped him along the way have also included Ross Scott, Mike Nedin and Dave Scott.

“These guys were influential in getting me into coaching,” he said.

Nicole Rusenstrom was also thanked for her help with teams in recent years.

Special thanks was given to Greg Scott and Don Parks, who were recognized for their many years of coaching with Silvaggio. He also recognized his son Stephen, who both played and coached with him and now has his own basketball program at Kennedy.

“All the coaches should be sharing this with me as well,” he said.

General Amherst coach Dom Silvaggio (centre) goes over a play during a timeout of a Nov. 2017 game against Kennedy. Silvaggio’s accomplishments over his coaching career have landed him a spot in the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be in October.

Fundraisers for the local basketball programs have included Ross Scott, Parks, Greg Scott and Palumbo plus the many players and parents that helped out.

Parents have also been of great help over the years.

“They always had my back, driving the kids to all parts of Ontario,” he said.

The players were also thanked, with Silvaggio noting that none of the championship teams he has coached would have been possible without the hard work of the players. He recalled championship teams that would win a tournament on a Saturday and come home and want to practice on the Sunday.

“That’s the dedication and drive they had,” said Silvaggio. “Without that, you aren’t going to win anything.”

While the dedication of players and parents were pointed out, so too were the efforts of his fellow teachers and administrators as well.

“It makes my job a heck of a lot easier when you have that,” he said.

Silvaggio gave special thanks to his family, including wife Susan, son Stephen and daughter Kim. Kim also played for her father during her time at General Amherst.

“Without their support, I wouldn’t have been able to put in the time,” he said. “There were a lot of weekends away, that’s for sure.”

Among the accomplishments on Silvaggio’s resume include 26 WECSSAA/ECSSAA championships between boys and girls basketball teams. He has coached 13 SWOSSAA championship teams and the senior girls program he has overseen won ten consecutive medals at OFSAA at either the “AA” or “AAA” level, including five gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals at the provincial championship tournament.

Silvaggio’s teams have also won two gold medals and one silver at the senior boys Ontario District High School Championships and two golds in Division 2 at the Basketball Ontario Cup boys championship with the Amherstburg Basketball Club.

Silvaggio has won the most basketball OFSAA championships and medals as a coach in the Windsor/Essex area. His league and playoff win totals at the high school level top 600 and that number swells to 1,000 overall wins when tournaments are factored in.

The 2006 General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls team was selected as the top high school team of the year regardless of size by a committee of coaches and administrators from throughout Ontario.

In 2007, the senior girls won the Super 12 tournament which included the eventual OFSAA “AAAA” gold, silver and bronze medal winners as well as the OFSAA “AAA” gold, silver and bronze medal winners for that year. The Lady Gens won the “AA” gold that year.

From 2004-2013, the General Amherst senior girls basketball team had a record of 197-9 in WECSSAA, SWOSSAA and OFSAA league and playoff games. Silvaggio said most of those were at the Tier 1 level after WECSSAA started the tier system. Those teams had a 45-5 record in OFSAA play during that time span to go along with their ten straight medals.

Silvaggio was one of the founders and president for over 20 years of the Amherstburg Basketball Club. He said the Amherstburg Basketball Club was started to enhance and promote the game of basketball for the youth who lived in the Amherstburg area.

One of the teams Domenic Silvaggio (far right) coached to an OFSAA basketball championship were the 2011 General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls team (File photo – Special to the RTT)

“There were hundreds of children who played either house league or travel or both,” he said. “Many of the youth who were a part of this program probably would not have played basketball at the competitive and house league level if not for this club.”

Silvaggio believes he is one of only three high school basketball coaches to go into the Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be Oct. 19 at the Ciociaro Club.

Since the news went public, Silvaggio added he has been receiving many messages of congratulations.

“It’s nice,” he said. “It’s an honour but I’d like to share this with all of the other coaches.”

Other inductees into the Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame include Paul Carter (basketball), J. Paul Reddam (horse racing) and Don Marrin (wrestling) in the builder’s category; golfer Cheryll Damphouse, boxer Mary Spencer, hockey player Andy Delmore and basketball player Richard Shaw going in as part of the athletes category.

The Tecumseh Baseball Club and the 2011-15 University of Windsor Lancer women’s basketball team will be inducted under the club and team category.



General Amherst students raise more than $2,000 for ALS Society



By Jolene Perron


In the name of coach Dave Scott, leadership students Katie McEvoy and project partner Celina Varacalli have presented a $2,135.35 cheque to Sharon Colman, president of the ALS Society of Windsor Essex County.

“It’s kind of awesome because Coach Scott was my coach so it feels really nice,” said McEvoy. “Knowing where it’s going is also really nice, to help other people who have ALS. It was really stressful, I missed a lot of class to do it, but I think it was worth it in the final event. Everyone said that it turned out really good and a lot of people showed up. We raised past our goal and we got a lot of positive feedback.”

General Amherst students Celina Varacalli (left) and Katie McEvoy (right) present Sharon Colman, president of the ALS Society of Windsor Essex County (center) with a cheque for $2,135.35.

After the two held their run Oct. 23, they called Colman, who is also a General Amherst alumni, and said she was “dumbfounded” to hear how much they had raised.

“I think it’s a reflection of the community and the love they had for Dave,” said Colman. “We are just so grateful and I hope some of these kids will take forward what they know about ALS and when they hear about ALS, they will realize there are organizations out there that are helping. Their funding will help provide some equipment to those with ALS.”


General Amherst students hold ALS run in memory of legendary coach



By Jolene Perron


Carol Buchner once said, “they may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Each year, students in General Amherst’s leadership class are given the task of putting on a fundraiser or activity. This year, students took it upon themselves to honor Dave Scott, a teacher and coach whose recent death recently had a large impact on the school.

“The support from the school has been so overwhelming,” said Katie Scott, Dave’s daughter. “I always knew my dad was an amazing man, I am so honored to see how they have all come together to show their respect and keep his legacy alive. He would be so proud, as am I. I can’t thank them enough.”

Sharon Colman, president of ALS Society of Windsor Essex County speaks with students at General Amherst before they begin their walk Monday morning. The event was in memory of former Amherst coach and teacher Dave Scott.

According to the ALS Society of Windsor Essex County, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a motor neuron disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It destroys the motor neurons that transmit messages to the voluntary muscles. Death occurs due to respiratory muscle involvement. The prognosis for those diagnosed is often two to five years.

Celina Varacalli and her project partner Katie McEvoy have held a run in the name of coach Scott, who passed away September 14. The run cost $5, and students were able to get out of class to participate. Members of Scott’s family also came out to the event. The team also sold shirts for $15 leading up to the event to raise even more money. They shirts has “ALS” on the front, with a quote on the back, a paw print and “For Coach Scott” on the bottom.

“I personally wasn’t close with him, but my partner had him as a coach for several events and he was well known around the school,” explained Varacalli. “I knew him, I’ve talked to him, he was such a nice guy and he did so much for the school. He put so much time and effort into our school. He was a student here, he taught here, and then after he retired he still came back and coached. I feel like, even though I wasn’t close with him personally, being a student at General Amherst we should still do something in honor of him and his family.”

General Amherst coaching legend Dave Scott passes away


General Amherst teaching and coaching legend Dave Scott has died.

News of Scott’s passing was learned Thursday. Scott spent approximately 43 years coaching at General Amherst.

Scott was also a student at Amherst, starting in 1959 and was a key component of the newly created football program, founded by Jack Wilson and George Pringle in 1961. Scott, the team’s quarterback, scored the football program’s first-ever touchdown.

The team went undefeated the next two years and General Amherst won the SWOSSAA “B” championship in 1963. Scott was the quarterback the first three years of the program and was named the school’s top male athlete in 1964, the first time that award had been given.

Scott was captain of both the football and basketball teams from 1959-64. In 1961, the junior basketball team won the ECSSA title and travelled to London for the WOSSAA championship, where they lost by one point in the final.

Dave Scott poses with his track team shortly after the team surprised him with a cake to celebration his 40 years of coaching. This photo was taken in 2012. (RTT File Photo).

After obtaining an honours in physical education, he returned to General Amherst in 1968 and started his teaching and coaching career. In his first year, he coached football, basketball and started the track and field team. He became health and physical education department head in 1971.

Scott coached the senior football team to ECSSAA championships in 1972 and 1974 and began junior football in 1980. From 1980-85, Amherst won five straight junior football ECSSA championships. In 1993, the senior team had a perfect 8-0 record with the junior team winning that year as well. The juniors also won in 1999.

After retiring from teaching in 2000, Scott returned to the sidelines in 2004 and resumed coaching track and field as well. His track and field coaching credentials are impressive as well, as he led the team to 19 straight ECSSAA championships from 1971-94 with the team also winning SWOSSAA the first 16 years of that streak as well. The team has also achieved significant success at the provincial level, winning 14 gold medals at OFSAA.

Not only did he help lead General Amherst to success on the track, he helped build the local track and football complex. In 1984, Scott formed a committee with Dave Bailey and Mike Nedin to study the feasibility of building a track and field/football complex. They worked with the town in creating Centennial Park, and received help from then-mayor Bill Gibb and administrator Tom Kilgallin in obtaining the government funding required.

On the basketball court, he coached at the senior level from 1968 until his retirement in 2000 and continued to coach juniors after his retirement. The senior boys ended a 28-year dry spell in 1975 by winning the ECSSA championship, a feat they also accomplished in 1978. Teams led by Scott also won WECSSAA “AA” and SWOSSAA “AA” titles in the late 1990’s. Scott also has an Ontario District High School championship in 1998.

Scott has also won a variety of awards during his career. He was a recipient of the Ontario Bicentennial Volunteer Award, given by then-Premier Bill Davis. He was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013, won a Watson Hallock award for contributions to General Amherst, has been recognized by the town of Amherstburg, was awarded a WECSSAA plaque in 2000 for three decades of dedication to youth in track and field and won the Honourary Bulldog Award from General Amherst in 2009. Scott also won the Labatts Award from the Kinsmen Club of Windsor as their “Sports Person of the Year” June 6, 1983.

Scott also recalled the events he helped plan, from parades and hay rides to homecoming events and dances. He said the town would shut down in the early 1970’s for some of the homecoming parades that were held.

“It’s always been a great experience. I’ve never had a bad experience,” Scott said in a September 2016 interview with the River Town Times.

(NOTE: This story contains excerpts from a story the RTT published on Scott last year, when he was forced to step away from coaching due to his battle with ALS.)