Perillo proposes additional sports teams and coaches

The Greater Amsterdam School District may see the addition of four new coaches and two new sports this year as a member of the Foothills Council.

According to Superintendent Thomas Perillo, the Foothills Council has more layers of athletics than the Big Ten Conference has, and he would like to see the Amsterdam Middle School take advantage of that.

He said, “For basketball, the Foothills Council dedicates and specifies a seventh grade boy’s modified team, an eighth grade boy’s modified team, and then a seventh grade girl’s modified team and an eighth grade girl’s modified team. So you have basically four teams instead of just the two.” The Amsterdam Middle School currently has one team for boys and one team for girls combining the 2 grades.

Perillo went on to say that separating the grades into individual teams would lead to greater participation as the boys’ basketball coach had related to him that each year around 60 boys try out for the team with only 16 or 17 making it. He also said that he thought that it would give the student athletes a greater opportunity for athletic development.

Perillo is calling for 2 coaches to be hired at a cost of $2,466 each to run the seventh grade teams. He would also like to add a second assistant coaching position for the Amsterdam High School boys and girls indoor track team.

The team currently has more than sixty members, but only has one coach and one assistant coach. There is no limit to the number of students who may participate on the team.

Perillo said, “That program has been growing quite rapidly since we did institute that, and I believe that program reaches some students and some athletes that really don’t feel comfortable in participating, maybe, in some of our other programs.” The stipend for an assistant coaching position would be about $2,000.

School business manager Kim Brumley said that the money necessary for the creation of the positions was available in the budget. She said, “the liability insurance for the buildings has come in under what I expected so there is some money in that line item that we could transfer out.” The amount came in about $20,000 under what Brumley had projected it to be due to the fact that the district hasn’t suffered any significant losses.

Entrance into the Foothills Council has also opened the possibility of creating a high school girl’s lacrosse team. Currently, the district has only a boy’s lacrosse team, which girls may participate on, but Perillo said that no more than 3 girls did so last year. Perillo would like to hold an interest sign up. He noted that it is a spring sport, so the board has more time to come to a decision on the matter, although it would necessitate the creation of a new coaching position.

Finally, Perillo brought up the possibility of making the Amsterdam High School cheerleading team competitive. Cheerleading is now considered a sport, opening up the possibility of making the preexisting cheerleading squad into a sports team. They would continue to cheer at games, but would also take part in competitions and add stunt elements to their routines.

Perillo told the board that the current advisor and squad members have expressed interest in becoming competitive. However, the cheerleading advisor is not currently certified for coaching and would have to go through the certification process if she were to become the team’s coach. The board will have to come to a decision on whether to maintain cheerleading as an extracurricular activity or to make it competitive by November, when the season starts.

Ashley Onyon

Ashley Onyon is a graduate of the journalism program at SUNY Albany. She has contributed articles to The Mohawk Valley Independent and the annual journal Upstream.