Sports Person of the Week
Narracci’s Honored to be East Haven’s New Golf Coach
East Haven boys’ basketball coach Ricky Narracci was recently named the new head coach of the Yellowjackets’ golf squad. (Photo courtesy of Ricky Narracci )
If you name a sport, then there is a good chance that Ricky Narracci has coached it. Ricky, who is the head coach of the East Haven boys’ basketball team, has also had stints coaching volleyball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, and track. Most recently, Ricky was hired to take on his latest endeavor as the new head coach of the Yellowjackets’ golf squad.
Ricky is replacing Dave Augustine, who had spent the past 42 seasons as head coach of the golf team. A Yellowjackets’ alum, Ricky is just the third head coach in the 60-year history of the program.
“I’ve been helping out with Coach Augustine the past few years. I filled in for him when he missed some time,” says Ricky. “He and I were close and, over the last few years, we talked about me taking over the program when he eventually retired.”
Ricky began his coaching career as the freshman boys’ basketball coach at Westbrook High School in 1995. In the 25 years since then, Ricky has coached at North Branford, North Haven, Guilford, Amity, and, of course, East Haven as either a head or assistant coach for both boys’ and girls’ sports.
Ricky also served as East Haven’s athletic director (AD) from September of 2013 through September of 2014, holding that role until Anthony Verderame was hired for the position. Verderame had plenty of experience working with Ricky due to the coach’s various roles at East Haven. He feels that Ricky is the perfect fit to lead the golf team.
“We are extremely excited to have Coach Narracci taking over the helm as our head golf coach,” Verderame says. “Coach Narracci has an extensive and well-respected reputation for coaching. He is an avid golfer and will provide top-notch instruction to our kids.”
When Verderame became the AD, Ricky returned to the court for his second tenure as head coach of East Haven boys’ hoops, and has been there for the past six years. Last spring, Ricky helped out as an assistant coach with the Yellowjackets’ softball squad.
Now, Ricky is the head coach of another sport that’s played during the springtime. He’s looking forward to helping the Easties reach their potential both on the hardwood and the links.
“The balance of being a head coach of the two different sports is not going to be a problem. Golf is not as time-consuming as basketball is. You’re not watching film, out at nights scouting teams. It’s more of a relaxed sport,” Ricky says. “I’ve gone through school years where I’ve coached three different sports in a row. I’m kind of used to it now.”
Ricky is a 1989 graduate of East Haven High School, where he played varsity basketball and tennis for the Yellowjackets. Although those are vastly different sports, Ricky says he learned plenty of skills and life lessons that crossed over into each into of then. As he takes the reins with the golf team, Ricky is hoping to instill some of those same values into his athletes.
“I kind of played everything growing up. Each sport, you can take something and translate it,” says Ricky, who lives in New Haven. “A lot of the footwork in tennis translates to basketball. When I was the head basketball coach at Guilford High School, I had a lot of soccer players. I like coaching guys that are multiple-sport athletes. It’s important to learn from different coaches. The more sports you play, the more well-rounded you are. There’s not many sports that don’t translate to one another.”
Ricky is also physical education teacher at East Haven High School. In that capacity, he has the chance to work with several students who play sports for the Yellowjackets. When he sees these athletes, Ricky will throw out the idea of them giving a golf a shot—or other sports—in order to expand their horizons.
“I try and do that on a daily basis. I see probably every kid at one point or another. If I don’t have them in my class, I’ll see them in the gym,” Ricky says. “Me and Coach [Rusty] Dunne, who coaches track, will constantly be recruiting. If we see someone with athletic ability, we will pitch basketball or football or golf or track. If they haven’t played anything, but we think they have potential, that’s how a lot of kids get introduced to sports like golf. We get a lot of kids coming out of our classes.”
When the Easties finally get back on the golf course, Ricky wants his athletes to be ready to compete to their fullest. It’s an attribute that Ricky has emphasized with every team he’s coached. Ricky is looking forward to coaching the golf squad, while continuing to build on the legacy that he’s a part of in East Haven.
“It’s really been my whole life. All my athletic experiences as a player, most of my coaching experiences, 90 percent of my friends are East Haven,” says Ricky says. “I owe everything to East Haven. My dad was from there, was the AD, coached multiple sports, still runs the Alumni Association. All my brothers went there. I don’t know any other way.”