Athletic director Dominic Zarrella discussed the future of Saugerties sports during the Board of Education meeting on May 12. After giving a review of the successes of many of the district’s teams during this school year, including football, tennis and wrestling, Zarrella fielded questions from board trustees about what additions and improvements could be made to the program offerings.
Zarrella said he is happy with the numbers on the majority of the teams, though he is actively recruiting at the elementary level for sports like golf, whose numbers he believes have suffered due to the downturn in the economy.
He suggested adding hockey to the district’s sports offerings. It would be a natural fit, due in part to the proximity of the Kiwanis Ice Arena. Zarrella’s main concern would be finding opponents within a reasonable distance. He planned to look into how many schools Saugerties would be able to play, then gauging interest. If that goes well, he would return to the board to seek approval for the formation of a hockey team.
Trustee Damion Ferraro asked about the number of female versus male applicants for coaching positions. Zarrella said that in a perfect world he would see an equitable number of coaches of both genders. However, there are challenges to becoming certified as a coach, both in time and financial commitment. It costs more than $300 and requires more than 100 hours in to earn a coaching certificate. Zarrella said there is talk of the state offering online courses. These courses would be offered for only $35.
Ferraro also asked about increasing access to scholarships for student-athletes. Zarrella said he has asked his head coaches to identify any players that might be eligible as early as possible and he is working with the guidance department to ensure that they take the proper classes to continue their eligibility.