Sports Person of the Week
Perras Ready to Go as Head Coach of Old Saybrook Boys’ Hoops
Chris Perras is excited to begin his first full season as head coach of the Old Saybrook boys’ basketball team. Chris lives in East Lyme and works at Polson Middle School in Madison as a guidance counselor. (Photo courtesy of Chris Perras )
Chris Perras never expected to become the head coach of a basketball team at only 28 years old. However, after serving as the interim head coach for the Old Saybrook boys’ basketball team last season, Chris was hired outright as the Rams’ head coach for the 2021 campaign and feels eager to get started.
In 2015, Chris was afforded an opportunity to become an assistant coach of the girls’ basketball team at Ledyard High School by Pete Vincent, who was the head coach at the time. Chris, an East Lyme resident who works as a guidance counselor in Madison, describes that moment as a fortunate encounter and a big step in his coaching career.
“I’m good friends with Pete’s son, and I was over his house that day because we were looking to purchase season tickets for UConn men’s basketball that season,” says Chris. “I always wanted to get into coaching basketball and, luckily enough for me, Pete was looking for an assistant coach at the high school and I hopped on that opportunity.”
Chris worked with Vincent at Ledyard for three years until Vincent retired prior to the 2018-’19 season. Chris was hoping to become the head coach of Ledyard girls’ hoops following Vincent’s departure, but instead, he wound up heading to Old Saybrook to join the Rams’ boys’ basketball program.
“I thought I was going to get the head coaching job at Ledyard once Pete stepped down,” Chris says. “That didn’t end up working out, but another opportunity opened up at Old Saybrook, and I worked as the junior varsity coach for a year prior to becoming the interim head coach last year.”
Now, Chris is the full-fledged head coach at Old Saybrook, and he’s looking forward to forming a foundation with his team. Chris describes the Rams’ roster as young, but full of potential.
“We graduated nine seniors from last year’s team, so there’s a lot of gaps to fill. Serving as the interim coach for the last 14 games of the season, I was just trying to get the team to find some rhythm. We wanted to form an identity,” says Chris. “Our motto this season is going to be, ‘Let’s take every day and win the day.’ Whether it’s practice or games, we want to come out and bust our butts every day.”
In addition to coaching basketball, Chris is also a guidance counselor at Polson Middle School in Madison. Chris feels that it’s a nice change of pace between working with middle schoolers and high school students on a regular basis.
“I love working with my kids at the middle school in the morning. Then I get to come to Old Saybrook in the afternoon and coach these guys. They are all team players,” Chris says. “I asked every kid at the beginning of the season what their goal was for the season, and each one of them wrote down something team related. This is an unselfish group of kids, and I think we’re going to do good things this season.”
Old Saybrook was slated to begin its 12-game regular season by playing Portland on Feb. 16 (after press time). Chris’s expectation is for the Rams to play as hard as they can in each and every contest.
“I want to compete in every game. We have to bring our best and improve every day,” says Chris. “It’s tough to have an expectation with this pandemic going on. It’s even more of a heightened sense of urgency because of the fact that this can be taken away from us in a second due to COVID.”
Ultimately, Chris is aiming to turn around a program that finished with a record of 2-18 last season. The Rams went 16-7 just two years ago, and Chris believes that he can get the team back to that level.
“What we’re doing now is developing a system around the guys that we have. Every game is one of 12,” Chris says. “I’m pretty fiery. I’m pretty intense. There’s a lot of teaching moments that are going to happen this year, and I’m excited to grow with the program.”