Jim Kramer is going home.
Schenectady High School’s varsity football coach for the last four years has taken the offensive coordinator position at Utica College.
Kramer, who played football at Oneida High School, outside of Utica, guided the Patriots to Section II Class AA postseason berths in each season while in charge of the program.
“It’s a situation that kind of popped up out of nowhere. An opportunity presented itself,” said the 32-year-old Kramer. “My wife and I are both from the Utica-Rome area, and we both have large families there. We talked about it, and it’s an opportunity to bring our kids up there, and I get a shot at coaching in the college ranks.
“It’s a neat opportunity for me, and a great challenge.”
Kramer served as Schenectady’s offensive coordinator for two years under Carm DePoalo and helped the Patriots reach their only Super Bowl in 2008 while posting an 8-2 record. He continued to fill the offensive coordinator role while leading the Patriots. His teams put together a 19-17 record including 6-3 marks in 2009 and last year.
“When I took over for Carm, we made a promise as a group that we wanted to make Schenectady an established program in Section II. I think we did that,” said Kramer. “We’re in the upper tier of Section II football. That’s something I’m very proud of.
“I want to say thank you to the kids, and thank you to the community for all of its support. I had a great experience, and I’m thankful that I had this opportunity. I wish nothing but the best for the Schenectady football program.”
Schenectady notched two of its most noteworthy wins under Kramer in the sectional quarterfinals, beating Shenendehowa,
33-13 in 2009, and Christian Brothers Academy, 28-27, last fall. Schenectady’s 2012 season ended with a 28-21 semifinal loss at Shaker, the eventual champion.
With Kramer calling the shots and record-setting quarterback Kwame Jarvis leading the no-huddle offense, Schenectady featured one of the area’s most prolific attacks, and scored four touchdowns or more six times last season. Jarvis was selected to the all-state second team, and Kramer was tabbed the Section II Class AA Coach of the Year.
“He has one of the most intelligent football minds I’ve seen. He had it all planned out. He was ready for every situation. He knows his Xs and Os,” said Steve Boynton, Schenectady’s athletic director, of Kramer. “He did an outstanding job, and though he’ll be missed, I’m happy for him. He can chase his dream of coaching college ball.”
Kramer was a physical education instructor at Schenectady and served as its facility manager.
He played football at Springfield College, as well as Oneida, and had brief assistant coaching stints with each program. He was a volunteer assistant at Schenectady in 2006 when Vince Pagano was in charge.
“His guys were always well prepared. You didn’t see them get blown out very often,” said Eric Loudis, Schenectady’s varsity boys basketball coach. “Another thing I noticed is it seemed like they enjoyed playing for him.”
Boynton said longtime Schenectady defensive coordinator Mark Cerrone has been hired to replace Kramer. Cerrone is also a track coach and physical education teacher at the high school.
“He’s very dedicated. He has a very good football mind. He’s ready,” Boynton said. “Carm got the program going in the right direction. Jim kept it going in the right direction. With Mark, I don’t think we’ll miss a step.”
Cerrone’s cast will include receiver Felix Rodriguez, running back Hassan Rainey and lineman Justin Richards, who each earned a spot on the 2012 Gazette All-Area team. Another 2012 Gazette All-Area selection, lineman Tyler DePasquale, will by playing for Kramer at Utica in the fall.
“They’ve got some fantastic players coming back. That was another reason my decision was so tough,” said Kramer. “I think they can challenge for league and sectional titles.”
Under head coach Blaise Faggiano, Utica went 4-3 in the Empire 8 last season and 6-4 overall, tying a school record for victories. The Division III Pioneers set several offensive records.
“Utica is an up and coming program,” said Kramer. “We’ll try to build on what they’ve done.”
The Pioneers’ 2013 schedule includes a home game Sept. 14 against Union College.