MARBLEHEAD — Some people call him Jerry Maguire. Others, the Italian Stallion.
He’s a sports agent, father, husband, former professional athlete, and, now, a member of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.
Marblehead’s Sean Stellato, President of SES Sports, was inducted unanimously.
The prized NFL agent joins the ranks of sports icons Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Vince Lombardi, Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, and more than 200 others.
“I’m so proud of my heritage and honored to preserve their legacies. This is a great way to do it,” Stellato said. “I think the narrative is, really, to preserve the legacies that came before you.”
Stellato, who “follows bliss” in a career he doesn’t view as work, will be recognized at a special dinner in Chicago on Dec. 15.
“[He’s one of] the sports agents who turns budding superstars into legends and icons. His tenacity, vision, and work ethic are only superseded by his pride in his heritage,” said President Ron Onesti in a statement.
He set quarterback records for the Salem Witches, the Gunnery School as an All-New England postgraduate (“the most influential year of my life”), and was a star receiver at Marist College on top of three years of professional arena football.
Stellato, still involved with the game he loves, can check off another box.
“I got a call from the president… and I’m extremely grateful. It was one of those moments that just felt surreal,” he said. “You think about some of the legends you look up to that are of Italian descent. Who doesn’t know Vince Lombardi?”
Being a sports agent is an up-and-down career, said Stellato, whose everyday mission is to service his clients, create opportunities, recruit, and “create value.”
“There’s 1,696 active NFL players, so there’s not a lot of fish in the sea. I’ve got to assist these guys, help them fulfill their dreams, and give back,” he said. “I’ve got to deliver for them, but they’ve got to take a leap of faith for me. They believe in me and know that no other agent is going to outwork me.”
Stellato has represented 19 Super Bowl champions. Representatives include Shaun Draughan, Bryan Braman, Brandon King, Joe Vellano, Andrew DePaola (highest-paid long snapper in NFL history), Chris Manhertz, Ifeatu and Obi Melifonwu, Cam Lewis, and DuJuan Daniels.
“I’ve been doing this for 18 years, so I really take great pride in my workmanship and ability to deliver for my guys. That means a lot to me,” Stellato said.
Having representatives become Super Bowl champions – and lift the Lombardi Trophy – is a special accomplishment for his guys, per Stellato.
“You create a special identity for the rest of your life that no one can take away from you. It’s so important for those guys,” said Stellato, whose SES Sports turned 10 this year.
Tommy DeVito, starting quarterback for the New York Giants who threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns Sunday, showed his appreciation.
“Sean is always in my corner and will do whatever it takes to help me with my career on and off the field,” DeVito said. “He is the Italian Stallion of sports agents.”
As did Louisville coach Jeff Brohm, who coached Stellato in the AF2.
“Sean Stellato always played football with grit, determination, and that ‘no backing down’ attitude – just like his ancestors – who immigrated to America and fought for the American dream,” Brohm said. “Sean continues to take that same attitude and share those same core values as a sports agent. I firmly believe his passion and ability to connect to people along with his tremendous work ethic in the sports agency world is second to none.”
If there’s one thing that can come from his most recent achievement, it’d be for his daughters. Stellato and his “soulmate” wife, Krista, hope daughters Gianna, Sophia, Giulietta, and Siena Sicily “know they can accomplish anything, but never forget their roots.”
“God has blessed me with daughters. I try to be a really strong role model for them because I know they can do anything they want,” said Stellato, who runs a football camp and food drives across the North Shore. “I think I’m living proof that the same values my ancestors brought across the Atlantic have stayed the same from generation to generation.”
He’s also grateful for his parents Pat and Gloria, brothers Mike and Eric, late grandmother Lilian (“Owa”), late grandfather Pasquale, second mother in aunt Laurie, nana Shirley, late sister in-law Gena, in-laws Cathi and John, Gunnery coach Hugh Caldara, pop warner coach Bruce Riccardi, Salem coach Ken Perrone, prep basketball coach John Russillo, college coach Jim Parady, Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton, speed coach Ron Jones, Joe Faro, Gregg Clifton, Al DeFatta, Gus Martucci, ESPN analyst Adam Schefter, and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
“It’s taken a village for me to get to this point,” Stellato said.