Pace Remembers Fred Calaicone and George Maier, But Who Are They?


Photo from Stockton Photo Inc.

The families of both George Maier and Fred Calaicone stand on Pace Stadium’s field during the pregame ceremony.


The Pace community and Athletics lost two of its finest coaches this year, and both coaches were honored before the football season opener on Sat., Sept. 5.

George Maier (1926-2015) and Fred Calaicone (1933-2015) coached football and baseball, respectively. Maier, who was inducted into the Pace Hall of Fame in 2006, died at the age of 88. Calaicone led the baseball team for 20 years as head coach and died at 81.

Both left behind legacies that will last for years to come.

“When you see Pace baseball in a dictionary, you turn to it and there is [Calaicone’s] face,” said Henry Manning, head coach of Pace baseball.

Calaicone was the head coach of the baseball team from 1981 to 2000. During his tenure he became the all-time leader in wins with a record of 397-389 (.505 winning percentage), supervised the team’s transition from Division-II to Division-I in 1987, and coached what many consider the greatest baseball team in Pace history in 1985. Calaicone also played in the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs’ farm systems.

While his accomplishments as a coach are impressive, the Bronx native influenced the players he coached far beyond the diamond, and remained with them years later.

“It wasn’t just about baseball, it wasn’t about the wins and losses, it was about the kid or the student, the athlete, and getting an education,” Manning said.

Manning, a Pace graduate, played under Calaicone. He became Calaicone’s assistant before ultimately becoming head coach in 2000. From 2001 to 2002, Calaicone was Manning’s assistant coach. Even in his reduced role, Calaicone was still a mentor and a tremendous asset to the team.

“For those two years [Calaicone] was my mentor,” Manning said. “He was a mentor that was invaluable.”

Calaicone worked with Athletics from beginning to end. Maier was just as important to Pace Athletics.

“In my experience, [Maier] was the best coach Pace has ever had, it is not even close,” said Dr. Nick Catalano, who was the founder and first coach for Pace football in 1968. “It was not just the winning records, it was the cultivation, and the recruitments were first rate. These guys set a high point for football in those days.”

George Maier was hired as head coach in 1973 and ended his tenure in 1988.

Under his tutelage Pace football went 79-59-4 (.570 winning percentage), coached the 1973 Met Bowl Champions, helped set 25 single season records, and received the 1979 Eastern College athletic Conference Coach of the Year Award.

“He was a bit of a Renaissance Man, which is a big contradiction for football coaches,” Catalano said. “He won more than anybody else, but that was not the only thing that was important to him as far as his team and work as a coach.”

According to Catalano, Maier cared about the academics of his players far more than just winning games. He wanted his players to have future aspirations after their football days.

He also opened the door to the professional realm of football.

“I know my dad brought Pace’s football team to a level of success that it had never been to and began the famous ‘shot gun’ with Doug Woodward,” said Karen Maier, Maier’s daughter and a clinical instructor in Pace’s School of Nursing.

Both Maier and Calaicone were the coaches with most wins in Pace’s history, but they went above and beyond their call of duty.

Both coaches were honored Sat., Sept. 5 before the Pace Setters football team (1-1, 0-1 NE-10) won 36-23 over the Ave Maria Gyrenes. The surviving family members of Maier and Calaicone were welcomed and given a moment of silence to remember the two coaches.

“We just had an incredible memorial service at Rye High School and the head coach now is one of the students he had and mentored up until his death,” Karen Maier said. “It was an emotional ceremony, and the entire Rye High football team attended a Mass prior to their homecoming game, and then attended the memorial service in which their head coach, Dino Garr, spoke about the incredible man and brilliant coach my dad was.”

Pace Setters football is on the road to face Assumption College in Worcester, MA at 7 p.m. The next home game is Fri., Oct. 2 against Bentley University.