By KEVIN ROBERTS
Greg Ferry has always enjoyed working with kids. He didn’t have as much interaction with them as an athletic director, and he couldn’t pass up on an opportunity to return to his roots.
Ferry resigned as Southington’s athletic director late last month after serving in the position for four years. His last day in Southington is Sept. 13, and his first at his new job as a school counselor at West Hartford’s Conard High School is Sept. 16.
Add a year at Avon High School to the mix, and Ferry served in athletic administration for five years. Ferry saw an opportunity to be a counselor again, and he went for it.
“It was an opportunity that presented itself. I wasn’t looking for a position, very content here. A position came out of West Hartford as a school counselor,” Ferry said. “It’s what I did prior to getting into athletic administration, and I missed working day in, day out with the students. You get into administration, you end dealing a lot more just with the adults, and I missed that connection with the kids.”
Ferry continued: “Also, the opportunity to be around more for my favorite student-athlete, my son [Vincent]. It just came together, I weighed that option with my wife and my son, and I said you know what, I don’t want to blink.”
Ferry’s passion for helping others also factored in his decision.
“Athletic director is what I did, but it’s not who I am,” Ferry said. “I think my life mission is to educate myself and others to be their best, and whatever that role is, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability to support and help others.”
The Southington athletic director job was posted on Aug. 21. Applications are being reviewed as they come in and the position remains open until it is filled. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt, according to the job posting. Ferry replaced Eric Swallow as athletic director in July 2015. Swallow had left Southington for Norwich Free Academy.
“At present we are in the early stages of searching for a new athletic director. Application materials are being received through the online application process,” Timothy Connellan, superintendent of schools, wrote in an email. “The search is being headed by Steven Madancy, assistant superintendent, and myself, along with Frank Pepe, principal of Southington High School. Other members of our professional staff will be involved at some point in the process. We are working now to secure the services of an interim AD. Due to the timing of the search we anticipate the process will take approximately two months from initiation to a new AD starting.”
Ferry is most proud of introducing core principles, seeing an increase in grades and a tremendous decrease in discipline issues for student-athletes.
“People always want to point to the softball state title or track conference title, but behind the scenes, to see the way our students interact with each other, the way the teams support one another, that’s huge,” Ferry said.
Ferry continued: “We have good kids here, they get along, and they work and support one another. We all love winning, but I think winning is the byproduct of stuff that you do on a daily basis.”
As far as regrets go, Ferry wished he was able to get the fitness room revamped, along with doing some improvements to the varsity softball field. Some student-athletes sent him notes lauding the job that he had done and his positive influence.
“It made me feel really good that my impact is being noticed by the kids,” Ferry said.
Ferry said it’s the relationships that he’ll miss at Southington.
“That’s the stuff that you always miss, but you hold onto it when you think about the many nights and the many weekends and the many days of stuff here and the weather changes and stuff,” Ferry said. “It’s good, I’m very proud of what we’ve done in four years and how we’ve moved forward.”
Ferry has also enjoyed watching the growth of the boys basketball and girls soccer programs over the past four years. He’ll be with the Blue and White until Sept. 13.
“I think the ironic thing is the last event that I’m here for is Conard-Southington football, which is just funny,” Ferry said. “Two great, unbelievable staffs, I’m very close with both of them. It’ll be interesting being there in my Southington gear that last Friday, and then switching over.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com