By Joe Kiesa and Emma Carr
New seasons mean new athletes and these athletes need new coaches to inspire them to greatness. This year the Jamesville-DeWitt High School welcomed five new coaches to the athletic department: Paul Valentino for Varsity Boys Golf, Joe Moran for JV Boys Volleyball, Matt Coleman for JV Girls Volleyball, Patty Ferris for Varsity Girls Volleyball, and Chelsea Jenkins for Girls Cheerleading.
Mr. Valentino, who is also a physical education teacher at J-D Middle School, started out by coaching for the Modified Football and Modified Baseball teams. However, this year he decided that he needed a change. “It was time to try something new. Golf is a sport I love to play and being able to help individuals as well as a team appealed to me,” said Mr. Valentino. Mr. Valentino went to clinics and took lessons to prepare for his season. Senior and captain Gus Weinstein explains that Mr. Valentino is a great coach and has brought a lot to the team. “We are really committed, practicing every single day,” said fellow senior captain Ben Katsarsky. Weinstein attributes the playing time to the fact that Mr. Valentino taught them to play well. “Coach is very straightforward and doesn’t beat around the bush” say Weinstein. Athletic Director John Goodson explains that Mr. Valentino is learning about golf from the players as the players learn from him. He calls Mr. Valentino, “Mr. P.E.” because he can play or coach any sport.
Ms. Ferris, who teaches health at J-DMS, has coached the Modified Girls Volleyball team, but this year got the chance to move up to the Varsity Girls Volleyball team. She has brought organization and “strength training to the team. She is determined to win,” said Mr. Goodson. Ms. Ferris is full of energy and loves to have fun. Senior and captain Carly Neugebauer explains that the practices are harder and more work, but it keeps them focused and wanting to win. Senior Laura Wildridge explained that the practices are more strict but it’s a good thing. Wildridge also says that Mrs. Ferris is is funny and caring and makes everyone feel comfortable. “She taught us to play with each other better and work harder,” said Neugebauer. Wildridge says that Mrs. Ferris taught them a new serve called the float serve. “She is full of energy and very positive,” added Mr. Goodson.
Jamesville-Dewitt alumnus Mr. Moran was a long term substitute teacher last year, and today coaching the J-V Boys Volleyball team, in addition to being coach of varsity wrestling. “Mr. Moran is full of high energy and demand,” said Mr. Goodson. Even though Mr. Moran has never played volleyball, he “did his homework” on the sport. Because he is a gym teacher he has some background on volleyball. “We definitely work out more than we used to,” said sophomore Dylan McGee. “Coach has made the team much closer. We go to Tully’s for team bonding,” said McGee. Sophomore Evan Neugebauer says that his coaches makes them do more sprints and has taught them more drills. “He really cares about JD and he loves to win, which encourages us,” explains Neugebauer.
Ms. Jenkins, who prefers to be called Coach CJ moved to Syracuse from Texas. She runs a dance/ fitness studio here in New York. “She is very passionate and energetic about fitness and dance,” said Mr. Goodson, and consequently there is more dance involved in the cheers this year. “We dance better and we are more organized,” said sophomore Amanda Caffarelli. Coach CJ has only good things to say about her new home: “J-D is such a vibrant school and community.”
Mr. Coleman, an environmental communications consultant, has been playing volleyball his whole life. He coached club teams and is very knowledgeable about volleyball. “He gets to business and works hard,” said Mr. Goodson. Sophomore Teresa Werbowsky says that her coach is a good guy. Mr. Coleman makes them do sprints and workouts, which is a good thing because it helps them get focused. “He never gets mad at us and gives us good constructive criticism,” said Werbowsky. He has also taught his team combo plays, which are usually used on a Varsity level. “He focusses on the positive things and is determined to make us the best we can be,” says sophomore Alyssa Phillips.