By MICHAEL KELLY
The Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education approved Brian Mazza Jr. as the district's new Coordinator of Physical Education, Health and Interscholastic Sports at Wednesday night's meeting.
"The big thing for me is that Amsterdam has a great history, a great tradition, and I'm excited to get to be a part of that," Mazza said after his appointment.
"He's solid and he's going to be a really good fit for us," GASD Superintendent Thomas Perillo said.
Mazza, 44, is a 1988 graduate of Canajoharie High School and served this academic year as an assistant district principal and athletic director in the Greenville Central School District. Previously, he had been a biology teacher, coach and athletic director in the Moravia Central School District, where he spent 19 years.
Still in his first year at Greenville, Mazza jumped at the opportunity to head back with his family to his home region.
"The plan was always to move back to this area," Mazza said.
That desire played a role for GASD in deciding Mazza was its guy.
"I do see him being a long-term fit," Perillo said.
The 44-year-old played baseball and basketball at Canajoharie, and spoke fondly of playing at Amsterdam's Shuttleworth Park in his youth. After high school, he played baseball at Siena College before transferring and graduating from the University at Albany; then, he earned his graduate degree at SUNY Cortland.
The position Mazza was selected for Wednesday night is a slightly different one than the one filled by Randy Hutto, who resigned as GASD's athletic director the morning of April 4. Unlike Hutto's position, Mazza's will not include assistant principal responsibilities.
GASD had a three-year experiment with a position that was a combination role of athletic director and assistant principal. Now, Perillo said, the district will bring the position back to the form it had before the past three years.
"Now, Brian will focus solely on athletics and physical education," said Perillo. "With the way our athletic program is set up, this is better for us."
After Hutto's resignation, Bob Noto -- the school's former athletic director -- took over the position on an interim basis, and he is scheduled to serve in that position until the end of June. Mazza will begin July 1.
Mazza said he has started to get a handle on the challenges and issues he will deal with once he begins work at GASD. He said he is excited to help lead the district's transition from the Big 10 to the Foothills Council, and that he wants to use his first couple months on the job to hear from current faculty how he can assist them.
"My thing is I want to go meet people -- teachers, coaches, building staff -- just to listen," he said. "I want to spend a lot of time listening this summer. I think that's my role off the bat."
Follow MICHAEL KELLY on Twitter at twitter.com/RecorderMK