York tabs defensive coordinator Don Gelsomino as new head coach

An assistant for five seasons, Gelsomino takes over program coming off back-to-back semifinals

Don Gelsomino (in black, with headset), defensive coordinator at York for the past four seasons, has been hired as the Dukes' new head coach.

Don Gelsomino, defensive coordinator at York for the past four seasons during its rise to one of the state’s elite programs, has been promoted to the new head coach of the Dukes.

The high school made the announcement in a news release March 22.

Gelsomino replaces Mike Fitzgerald, who left York in January to take the head coaching job at Marist after leading the Dukes to back-to-back Class 8A state semifinal appearances.

Gelsomino joined the York coaching staff in 2019 and ascended to the role of defensive coordinator in 2020. During that four-year stretch, the Dukes posted a combined 35-7 record with York’s defense averaging only 14 points allowed a game.

In 2022, York posted the first 9-0 regular season in the greater than 100-year history of the program. Gelsomino’s defense set records for fewest points allowed during the regular season.

“Gelsomino has been an integral part of the coaching staff since 2019,” York athletic director Rob Wagner said in the release. “I know how much it means to him, both as an Elmhurst resident and current coach, to take the lead this year. We are so fortunate to have had someone of this level ready to step in and lead the Dukes into a new era of athletic excellence.”

A two-time cancer survivor who played in college at Augustana, Gelsomino began his coaching career at Fenwick after he graduated from college in 2008. At Fenwick he helped lead the Friars to the Prep Bowl championship. Gelsomino went to St. Patrick in 2011, where he spent five years on the coaching staff, moving up to defensive coordinator.

Gelsomino served as the head coach at Ridgewood for three seasons from 2016-18. He led that program to two conference championships and two playoff appearances, including the school’s first playoff win in 29 years.

From there he went to York and has helped lead the renaissance of the Dukes program. York’s back-to-back state semifinal appearances were a first in school history.

“The last five years coaching at York have been incredible,” Gelsomino said. “Seeing the effort from the players, coaches, parents and administration to turn this program around has been unbelievable. I could not be more grateful to coach Fitzgerald for hiring me and trusting me as his defensive coordinator. The community support every game has created one of the most exciting atmospheres in high school football. I am very excited to take over a program that has accomplished so much recently, is in my hometown and has the culture and community support that York has. It is not something I will take for granted.”