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Alumni Profile-- Nes Janiak
It was the summer of 1977 when a parent in the Mentor school district approached Nes Janiak, a young teacher at Ridge Middle School, and asked him if he could take a few minutes to work with his son on his quarterbacking mechanics.

Some years had passed since Nes Janiak starred at quarterback for Coach Bill Jacobs’ Cuyahoga Heights Redskins, but Janiak agreed to work with the aspiring football player.

That youngster who Janiak agreed to work with was a 15-year-old boy named Steve Trivisonno.

A quarterback whisperer had been born.

Four decades have gone by since Janiak first took a quarterback under his wing. During that time, dozens of Mentor quarterbacks have risen to stardom under Janiak’s tutelage.

From Jason Bratten to current starter Tadas Tatarunas and all the quarterbacks in between, the one constant with the Mentor offense has been its quarterback coach.

When Mentor takes to the field for its first-round Division I, Region I playoff game Nov. 3, it will do so with the first — and only — specific quarterback coach the program has ever had — Nes Janiak.

The man Trivisonno — who has gone from Janiak’s first pupil to his boss as Mentor’s head coach — says doesn’t get the credit he deserves for the Cardinals’ offensive success the past 21 years they have coached together.

“I still remember sitting on your patio and you saying, ‘Gee, I think we’re going to do this,’ ” said Janiak, looking Trivisonno in the eye as they sat in the coaches’ office. “You said, ‘I’d like you to be my quarterback coach,’ and I was like, ‘Hey, let’s go with it.’

“There wasn’t any such thing as a quarterback coach back then when I first started here at Mentor. It was mostly running with a little bit of passing. It wasn’t emphasized like it is today.”

Janiak chuckles when thinking back to his first day of teaching math at Ridge when a frail seventh-grader walked in and asked him where he was supposed to sit. He never imagined that boy — Trivisonno — would be the man to hire him as a quarterback coach.

“I knew he helped me when I was a quarterback 100 years ago,” Trivisonno deadpanned, “and I knew what kind of teacher he was. It was a good relationship and we knew where we wanted to go with it here.”

Janiak has tutored all of Mentor’s great quarterbacks, starting with Bratten, a three-year starter in the late 1990s who cut his teeth as a wide-eyed sophomore.

Bratten, Thom Abbott, Chris Jacquemain, Bart Tanski, Mitchell Trubisky, Conner Krizancic — all the QBs in between — flourished under Janiak.

“The wisest man I’ve ever met,” said Trubisky during a recent phone interview. “He has done so much to develop young men. He taught me about the game, but more so about how to be a man and be the ultimate player when it comes to being a teammate, how to carry myself and how to be a man.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without Nes Janiak.”

Krizancic was blunt.

“A genius. He should be in the hall of fame someday,” he said. “He’s one of the best people I’ve ever met in my life.”

Tanski agreed. He harkened back to his junior high years when he would catch a bus up to the high school for tutoring time with Janiak, going over film sessions, terminology and technique drills. Abbott and Jacquemain were the headliners then, but Janiak was already working with the next names well before they were in high school.

“The part about him I think I admire most is his demeanor,” Tanski said. “He’s calm the entire game. You could be having the worst game ever, and he’ll find a way to get out of the (rut) and keep you from getting flustered.

“I take pride in knowing him. The things he’s done for me and a bunch of other young men — not just as a coach, but as a person as well — is amazing.”

Janiak said he is often asked to compare and contrast all the successful quarterbacks he has coached. He said the key is to maximize the skill set each one possesses because, while the statistics say they were all great, all were “incredibly different” skill set-wise, he said.

“We’ll look at them when they are young,” Janiak said of he and Trivisonno, regarding prospective quarterbacks in junior high, “and we’ll notice potential or something we need to work on in a certain area. We try to pick kids without us coaching them and then think of what we could do if we coached them. Then the nurturing starts.”

Trivisonno calls Janiak “the best pure teacher” he has ever been around, from technique to mechanics to film work and the demeanor of which Tanski spoke.

“I know I get a little feisty at times,” Trivisonno said with a laugh, “and Nes knows how to get the quarterback away from me so I don’t yell at him.”

Said Janiak, “My wife always asks me how I can be so calm on the sidelines, and you have to be. If you’re off the wall every time something happens, that’s how the quarterback will be, too. You have to learn what the mistake was, fix it and move on to the next play.”

Janiak’s case in point was a Division I state semifinal Nov. 25, 2006. The Cardinals trailed Canton McKinley, 13-11, with less than two minutes remaining and the length of the field to go.

The fans were going crazy.

Emotions were ramped on the field.

Janiak said he put his hands on Tanski’s shoulders and calmly spoke.

“Look at the clock,” Janiak said. “That’s how much time we have left. We have one timeout. You can do this. Now go win the game.”

Tanski did, leading the Cardinals down for the winning score in an 18-13 game that sent the Cardinals to the state title game against Hilliard Davidson.

“Bart probably had the best mental vision of anyone we ever had here,” Janiak said.

The bond between Janiak and his quarterbacks runs deep. He channels each differently.

For instance, with Trubisky — “He was more quiet,” Janiak said, “I would just ask him two or three questions to help get him prepared for a game.”

Krizancic was “fiery” and he’d help stretch his legs out prior to the game and talk about the game plan while doing it.

This year, Janiak and starting quarterback Tatarunas push out the equipment carts together before the game.

“It reminds him what got him to this point, working hard and putting forth the extra effort,” Janiak said of the pregame ritual with Tatarunas.

Every quarterback is a unique and gratifying success story in itself, Janiak said. He reiterated each quarterback is different, and success to him is based on maximizing each’s specific skill set.

That being said, he admitted being in the green room when Trubisky was selected second overall in the 2017 NFL draft was special.

“It’s surreal,” Janiak said. “You might think about it and talk about it, but until you’re actually there, it’s very hard to describe that feeling.”

Trubisky, taking time out from the Bears’ preparation for their game at New Orleans, spoke fondly of his youthful days with Janiak, starting with Mentor football camps at age 7 to serving as the Cardinals’ ball boy when he was in fifth and sixth grade.

“I hung around with him on trips, before games, all the time — learning about Mentor football and what Nes Janiak was all about,” Trubisky said. “(Having him at the NFL Draft) meant the world to me. I wouldn’t have gotten to that point without him believing in me at a very young age, teaching me about the game and developing me into the person and player I dreamed to be.

“For him to be there to share that with me and my family was important.”

At 64, and with four decades of coaching under his belt, Janiak could easily ride off into the proverbial sunset of retirement.

He retired from the classroom in 2011, but is nowhere near ready to retire from the football field.

After 21 years of Janiak coaching Mentor’s quarterbacks to great heights, it’s safe to say the Mentor fan base isn’t ready for that, either.

“It would have been a little different over here,” said Trivisonno, hypothesizing if he didn’t have Janiak on his staff all these years. “You’re only as good as the people around you.”

A smile comes across Janiak’s face when he thinks back of the journey he’s been on, one that began back in 1977 when he was asked to work with a young quarterback named Steve Trivisonno.

He didn’t expect to be a quarterback coach for 21 years, and he probably didn’t expect to churn out the litany of high-profile quarterbacks he has helped churn out, including two Ohio Mr. Football-award winners — Tanski and Trubisky.

“A lot of people really don’t know how much this man has contributed to Mentor football, mostly because he doesn’t want people to know,” Trubisky said. “He doesn’t care about recognition. It’s what he does for others that is most important to him.”

Which means bringing the best out of young men and having them reach their maximum level with the skill set God gave them.

The statistics — and all the wins — are a fortunate byproduct.

Janiak doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

“It’s fun. As long as its fun and I’m physically able, then I’m OK,” Janiak said. “When I’m not physically able to, or when it’s not fun, that’s when it’s time to step away.” 

Nick Orr, Class of 2014 was a featured student on the Coastal Carolina social media last week (3 years @ 4.0gpa).

Name: Nick Orr

Hometown: Valley View, Ohio

Year in School: Senior

Major: Marketing

Specialization: Professional Golf Management

Nick is from Valley View, Ohio

Nick's Video

To say that our students enrolled in the professional golf management program are envied by people around the country is an understatement. However, the program is rigorous and requires a strong commitment. There is no better example of a model PGM student than Nick Orr.

A senior marketing student who holds a perfect 4.0 GPA and lists business calculus as his favorite class, Nick is a bright young man. He is also someone who is dedicated to reaching his dream of becoming a golf instructor. In his time at Coastal, he has already interned at golf clubs in Midlothian, Va., and Park City, Utah. He has also completed an internship with Maryland-based corporation Montgomery County Revenue Authority, an entity with nine golf courses under its umbrella. Calling these experiences “invaluable,” Nick has already developed quite the resume.

He has also developed quite the reputation. Among his peers, Nick is seen as reliable and a hard worker. In fact, it was a current student who nominated him for this feature.

“Inside or outside the classroom, people can always rely on me to get things done and be there for them,” Nick explains about his trustworthy nature.

Wanting to work out west when he graduates in May, Nick most likely won’t be in the area for much longer. However, for someone who says it is important to focus on the positives, we should celebrate his remaining time on campus as opposed to dreading his departure. Nick, maintain that 4.0 GPA and have a great rest of the academic year!

Nick is a senior.
Nick holds a 4.0 GPA.

Q&A with Nick


How did you hear about Coastal?: While vacationing in Myrtle Beach when I was younger.

Why did you come to Coastal?: I feel like Coastal has the best golf program in the nation.

Favorite professor: Matthew McDonough, Ph.D.

Favorite class: Business Calculus

Favorite aspect of Coastal?: My favorite aspect is meeting new people.

Favorite aspect of living in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area?: Playing all of the beautiful golf courses

Clubs/Intramurals/other extracurricular activities involved in?: PGM, Intramural Tennis/Football

Plans after graduation?: I want to work as a golf instructor out west.

What are your hobbies?: Playing the ukulele, mini golf, video games

Do you have any hidden talents?: I am extremely good at corn hole.

Bonus Info: I have a 4.0 GPA.

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