BY MARK JAFFEE
Ryan Sullivan is headed back to the hardcourt.
The former Kennedy High boys basketball coach is taking over the Woodland program, succeeding John Mariano, who guided the Hawks for three seasons and stepped down after the 2021-22 season.
“I saw the opening, applied and thought it would be a good fit,” said Sullivan, who was hired on June 23. “Woodland has great athletic programs and that’s what drew me to the position. One of the first texts I received after I got the job was from Jennifer Deeley (the former Kennedy girls coach, now at Woodland). She said I would love it at Woodland.”
Sullivan, 49, guided Kennedy for seven seasons and is the assistant principal at Tinker School in Waterbury. The 1991 Crosby High graduate previously spent two seasons coaching with Nick Augelli at Crosby from 1996-98 before taking the head coaching spot with the Sacred Heart girls team for 13 years.
“The last two years was the first time I was off in the winter in 18 years,” said Sullivan. “I really missed it. I watched a lot of basketball and listened to games on the radio. Toward end of the season, my wife Kasey said she could tell I missed it and encouraged me to get back into it. Kasey will be back doing the score book.”
Mariano, 33, a fifth-grade STEM teacher at Hillside Intermediate School in Naugatuck, stepped down due to family reasons.
He and his wife Jillian welcomed a daughter, Elle, born last Jan. 24, and he wants to spent more time with them.
“I loved coaching at Woodland,” said Mariano. “The kids were great and hardworking and competitive. It was a very hard decision, being immersed in the game since I was seven. But I felt it was the right time.”
Woodland is not the only NVL school with boys coaching vacancies. Wolcott, Watertown and Derby also have had their positions open after resignations.
BY MARK JAFFEE