History of a Legacy The James A. Funiciello Pool
Liverpool High School Pool was first put into use during the 1967-1968 school year.
Jim Funiciello served as a teacher, coach, and eventually as athletic director with the Liverpool School District from 1966-1993. While ground for the high school pool was being broken, the first Liverpool swim team trained athe Baldwinsville High School pool during the 1966-67 school year. The following year, Funiciello coached his inexperienced, but enthusiastic group of boys in the new high school swimming pool. One of the best high school facilities in the state.
At that same time, under the directorship of Luke Laporta, Funiciello created and oversaw the third grade learn to swim program, free to all third graders in the Liverpool district. This program was designed to ensure that all students attending Liverpool schools be given the opportunity to learn basic swimming skills. In 2005, Liverpool’s third grade learn to swim program celebrated its 40th year. More than 25,000 Liverpool students have participated and continue to benefit from this program!
In 1967, to encourage community interest in swimming, Funiciello along with Tom Creamer became founding members of the Liverpool Swim Club, now known as the Liverpool Jets Swim Club. This Amateur Athletic Union (A.A.U.) team was one of the first year-round sports available to boys and girls aged 4 and up. As participants, swimmers trained in all four strokes and were able to compete throughout New York State at various club meets. This program also became a springboard to participation in middle and high school swimming, providing athletes with the necessary skills to compete at state and national levels.
As a physical education teacher for swimming, Funiciello taught countless high school students how to swim in the Learn to Swim classes, since a graduation requirement at the time included the ability to swim 25 yards of the pool. But Funiciello provided more than swimming lessons to Liverpool high school students. Students also had the opportunity to take courses in Scuba, Kayaking, Canoeing, Water Games, Waterpolo, Diving, and Lifesaving, which served as leisure activities they could pursue throughout their lives.
As a high school swimming and diving coach, Funiciello is recognized as one of the winningest coaches of all time, compiling a 228-5 record. He was the Warriors Varsity Boys’ coach from 1966-1983, and Interim Varsity Girls’ coach for the 1978-79 season. Under his guidance, the boys and girls won a total of 18 OHSL championships and 16 Section III titles. State rankings began in the early 70’s, and the boy’s team was ranked #1 in the state for nine consecutive years. During the 1979-1980 season, the boy’s team won the Eastern Seaboard Championships and were ranked #4 in the United States. He produced 26 All-Americans and countless State Champions.
In 1978 Athletic Director Luke Laporta asked Funiciello to quantify how much college scholarship money his athletes had received to date. At that time, it was determined that Liverpool swimmers and divers had been awarded more than $1,000,000 dollars in scholarship money at various institutions across the nation!
Despite so many successes, Coach Funiciello says his proudest moment as a coach came with the 1982 loss to Fairport–the Warriors first loss in more than a decade. After the final relay, the scoreboard gave the news. The Fairport team and fans were ecstatic, cheering, crying, jumping into the pool. The Liverpool boys spontaneously surrounded all four sides of the pool and gave the winning team, their opponents, a standing ovation. A true picture of the type of people Coach Funiciello trained his athletes to be.
From 1979 until his retirement in 1993, Funiciello served as athletic director for Liverpool. Around that time, he also served as Empire State Game Swim Meet Director in 1978, State Swimming Director for the Games from 1979-1988, and Central New York Regional Director for Empire Games from 1988-2003.