By Gavin Menu
Todd Gulluscio is less than a month into his term as the Sag Harbor School District’s new director of athletics, physical education health and wellness, but already has Whalers fever.
Speaking before Friday night’s varsity girls basketball game between Pierson and the Ross School, it was clear that Gulluscio has a passion for high school sports and a love for his newfound community.
“I’m having a great time here, really enjoying the atmosphere of the Sag Harbor School District and the community,” Gulluscio said on Friday. “I absolutely love the support that the community extends to our school and our student athletes.”
Gullusico, a native of Shelter Island, was hired to a two-year term in December and officially started work on January 2. He previously worked for seven years in the Greenport School District and spent the last two and a half years as its director of athletics. On Friday, he said he was still getting acclimated to Sag Harbor, but that one by one he was starting to address issues in the district.
“My goal is to maintain the great heritage that we have here at Pierson and to move ahead into the future with the same level of excellence that we expect from our student athletes,” Gullusico said. “A lot of the pieces are already in place, so now it’s about building.”
Gulluscio is in the process of planning a parent meeting for the spring sports season to give an overview of the athletic program “so we all start off on the right foot,” he said. “I’m really just getting used to the processes and procedures of the district.”
Along with varsity boys and girls basketball, Pierson students are competing at the varsity level in East Hampton this winter on the wrestling, swimming, bowling and indoor track teams. Gullusico this week went to East Hampton for the first time to go over the details of the shared program and to see where it could be improved.
“I’ve always felt what a nice opportunity it is for a kid to participate in these sports if they want to,” said Gullusico, who is also in the process of addressing how and when Pierson boys can re-enter the East Hampton football program, which was classified last year without including the population—or a single player—from Pierson. “We’ve already started discussions about that, but nothing has been decided.”
Aside from the shared programs, Gullusico is also looking into how many total sports teams compete at Pierson alone. There has been some concern in recent years that there might be too many teams, especially in the fall when seven programs—field hockey, boys and girls soccer, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country and golf—compete at the varsity level, and that perhaps the pool of athletes from such a small district might get watered down.
A specific example is with the Pierson tennis program, which competed at the junior varsity level last fall and sent varsity athletes to compete with East Hampton. Gullusico said the district would most likely only have a JV again next year, and that adding additional sports teams is “something we’re all going to have to take a look at as a school.”
“I wasn’t here for the fall, but I’ve been talking to some of the fall coaches and it’s something we have to look at,” he added. “There’s always room to improve as far as I’m concerned. Pierson athletics should be the standard by which Suffolk County athletics are judged.”