The project has been six years in the making, and the subject is near and dear to former Salem High football star Sean Stellato. He’s written a book about Salem’s 1994 teacher’s strike that resulted in head football coach Ken Perrone’s decision to defy an order to cease and desist coaching his team.
Instead Perrone and his coaching staff remained with the Witches all the way through the Division 3A Super Bowl, an action in support of the players that ultimately cost the coaches their jobs. Perrone went on to have a very successful career as Salem State baseball coach, but was kept out of the Salem High Hall of Fame for 19 years until finally being voted in a year ago. Ironically, Stellato was also inducted into his high school Hall of Fame at the same time.
Last Friday afternoon Stellato signed a publishing deal with Mascot Books from Herndon, Virginia. The company has published many sports related stories, particularly focused on college athletic endeavors and has also put out books about the Boston Red Sox. The first edition of 5,000 hard cover books is expected to be released in about eight weeks.
“I’m ecstatic about signing the book deal,” said Stellato, an NFL Player Representative who has his own sports agency. He has 10 professional players under contract along with 11 from this year’s upcoming draft. “I have believed in this book so much and started working on it six years ago when I began keeping a journal.
“I went through it as a high school player, but can appreciate it more now as an adult. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I was fortunate to play football for 10 years longer than the last game of that ‘94 season (starring at Marist College and then as a professional player in the Arena League), but for 95 percent of the kids on that team their careers ended after high school. Talking to them and seeing the emotion that situation brings out was unbelievable.”