Athletic Director Appointed In Sag Harbor

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By Tony Mar

The yearlong search for Pierson High School’s new athletic director has concluded, and 42-year-old William Madsen, most recently the varsity football coach at Rocky Point High School, is the choice. What’s more, in addition to his oversight of Pierson’s Athletic department, Madsen will assume the responsibilities of Facilities Director/Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, fulfilling the new hybrid position created by Superintendent Dr. John Gratto.

In his new position, Madsen will be paid a salary of $110,000 a year.

Pierson had been without a full time AD since the spring of 2007, making do with interims Dan Nolan, former Port Jefferson High School AD, last fall, and Mike Burns, former East Hampton High School AD, last spring. Neither of the interims were candidates for the position.

While some school community members are less than enthusiastic about the joining of two positions into one, not so Madsen. “I think it’s an ingenious idea,” he said, when asked about the dual responsibilities of his new job. “I can’t tell you how many times the AD and the grounds supervisor are on the phone, getting the grounds ready, getting the gym ready, getting the lines drawn, the grass cut, the bulbs changed.”

Madsen is a graduate of Commack North High School, where he excelled on the baseball diamond. He spent two years at Suffolk Community College, where he still holds the record for highest career batting average, a .507 clip. He received his undergraduate degree from Dowling College in 1990, his Masters in Education (with an emphasis in coaching) from Stony Brook in 1997, and later studied educational administrative programs at Touro College in Manhattan.

When asked who his mentor was as far as his coaching days, Madsen fondly remembered and credited his high school baseball coach, Bill Edwards, who now runs the very successful women’s softball program at Hofstra University.

The selection process for the position was extensive. There were 15 applicants who responded to the job posting. From that group, a search committee including Pierson principal Jeff Nichols, both assistant principals, a number of Pierson teachers (including two physical education teachers), and Teachers Association of Sag Harbor President Eileen Kochanasz, winnowed the applicant pool to five candidates who were invited to interview. Two applicants were then chosen as finalists, and Superintendent Gratto made the final decision.

Madsen’s career has taken him from Brentwood High School, one of the largest schools on Long Island, where, by his own admission, he knew maybe “five percent” of the students and other teachers, to smaller Rocky Point, where he knew a greater percentage, and now to the comparatively intimate Pierson, where he plans to, “really get to know every student who comes into the gym, every athlete. I don’t want to lose my touch with the kids. As an administrator, it’s easy to be set apart. In a school this size, I believe I can have direct contact with every member of the school community.”

When asked what his agenda would be with regard to athletic programs for the school at large, Madsen mentioned that his first priority would be to address childhood obesity by way of getting kids excited about playing, the way he did when he was a kid. He intends to include instruction on nutrition and an expansion of the intramural sports program, as well. “At Pierson, fitness is a priority in their athletic program. This fits in perfectly with my goals.”

Last year under Madsen, the Rocky Point varsity football squad boasted a 5-3 record. In 2007, they were, according to their former coach, the “Big 4” champions of Long Island. Undoubtedly, Madsen will be seeking similar success in his new roles, and in his new village.

Married for two years, Madsen is the proud father of a “very active” 4 month old boy who, as of yet, can’t hit a curveball. 

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