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Anthony Perrotti is ready to get his first season as the East Haven boys’ tennis coach underway. He’s proud to be back at his alma mater, giving back to a program where he had so much success. (Photo courtesy of Anthony Perrotti )
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East Haven High School has hired another coach from within as 2015 graduate Anthony Perrotti was recently named the new head coach for the boys’ tennis team this spring.
Perrotti, who played football and tennis for the Yellowjackets throughout his high school career, is excited to be back with the program.
“It feels great, to be honest. It’s good to be back in the East Haven athletics hallway,” says Anthony, who is currently a student at Quinnipiac University. “It’s good to be back as a part of this team in a different position.”
Director of Athletics Anthony Verderame believes bringing the Yellowjacket alum back to the tennis team will cause a positive stir in the program, after the success he had with the team a short while ago.
“We are extremely proud to have Anthony home again at East Haven High School as our boys’ tennis head coach,” says Verderame. “Anthony is a dedicated and energetic addition to our staff. His experience and passion for the sport has been well-received by our boys and fellow coaches.”
Anthony’s assistant for this season is a familiar face—former Head Coach Rob Manghnani. Anthony says Coach Manghnani helped recruit him to the new role knowing he had other commitments to attend to this year.
“I had talked to Coach Rob over the winter, and he asked of my availability and if I’d be willing to coach the team. It’s something we had planned, that he’d hand it down me to me when I was ready and the timing worked out good,” says Anthony, who primarily played doubles during his time with the Easties. “The perfect word is he’s my mentor. I talk to him daily. I go to him for all my advice, and he’s always there to answer for me. That goes for Mr. Verderame as well. He’s been great and been there for me the whole time.”
While at Quinnipiac, Anthony says he hasn’t played tennis much, but getting back on the court at practice brought everything back.
“I never stopped loving the sport, so it’s great to be back. I still have that competitive edge, so it’s great to be out there with the guys,” says Anthony. “After the first couple of days, the rust came right off. I’m teaching them the same way I was taught. I want to teach the right way.”
Anthony remembers when he was recruited to play tennis by Manghnani, and now he’ll be doing the same at the helm of the Yellowjackets. Anthony knows tennis is not the easiest sport to just pick up, but he’s eager to get East Haven athletes to come out for the team.
“I’m trying to do that with our guys. I coached youth football two years ago, and we have three of those guys on this team now. It’s great to see guys coming out from other sports and bringing that competitive edge to the tennis court,” says Anthony. “I told our guys to go to school and get anybody you can and bring them to practice. My biggest thing is nobody starts out as a tennis pro. We’ll teach you to do things the right way, but the big thing is getting numbers.”
Anthony hopes the energy his team and coaches display at practice will yield those numbers in the near future.
“The main way to recruit guys is to show them we’re having a good time. We have a great time at practice. It’s a high school sport. Kids want to have fun. If they come out and see we’re having fun, winning comes with that,” says Anthony, who noted the team has dedicated the season to Nick Vessicchio and #Nickstrong. “Our team motto is don’t think and have fun. I really think that’s a great way to think about this sport. If you’re in your own head, you’re beating yourself.”
Anthony has set lofty goals for himself and the program and knows things may take time, especially as East Haven features a young squad this season.
“We have a young team built around our sophomores which is huge for the outlook of things. Going forward, the future is bright,” says Anthony. “I told the team we want to make states as a team. That’s something that hasn’t been done since before I was in high school. After that, we want to win a SCC Championship. My sophomore year we came in second and that has hung over my head, so I’m hungry to get that championship.”
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