Sting like a bee
Stricken with Parkinson's disease 1982, the 71-year-old Ali can't always express his pride or joy through words, said his daughter who wrote a book on the disease in 2005.
But Ali, known during his heyday for poetry and hyperbole, always gets his point across.
"His eyes light up every time he talks to the boys," Rasheda said. "But especially so when Biag (short for Biaggio) does well in sports."
Ali's eyes might require flicker mode, because Biaggio appears to be on a fast track to stardom.
Blessed with the speed of his mother (Rasheda was a sprinter and cross country runner in high school), the strength and agility of his father (Bob was a gymnast and his family is filled with soccer players) and the athleticism and quickness of Ali, Biaggio appears blessed with more than enough athletic DNA to succeed.
Burgman, known for his rough exterior and tough love, is most impressed with his star running back's innards. Though the 56-year-old fully admits that Ali is an idol — a picture of the boxing great sits prominently on his desk — Burgman repeats that he knew nothing about Biaggio's lineage before passing judgment.
The only thing greater than Biaggio's talent, he said, is his attitude.
"From the start, it's been ‘Yes sir' and ‘No sir,'" Burgman said. "No sense of entitlement."
That's a sticking point for Burgman, who said he came from nothing, but that his father taught him "To fight, scratch and claw for everything in this world." Burgman, from Long Island in New York, wound up playing football in the Ivy League.
"I've coached many kids with famous backgrounds," he said. "Nobody gets preferential treatment here. You earn it every day and keep earning it. That's what Biaggio continues to do. He's just an amazing kid. He's one you want to carve out and coach forever. He's the one you want to marry your daughter. From day one, he has been something special."
That bodes well for the Gorman varsity squad, which has racked up a 59-5 record and won four straight state titles since coach Tony Sanchez arrived in 2009. With a strong stable of backs, Biaggio has no chance to be called up to varsity this season, but Sanchez definitely has his radar locked in.
"He's a good player," Sanchez said. "We'll see how he develops. Right now he looks pretty darn good. Good speed, good size and good feet."
But does he sting like a bee?
"Right," Sanchez said with a giant grin. "He's doesn't look like he's afraid of contact. He stings like a bee."