Whether it’s in person, in the newspaper, or in the Daily Bulletin, athletes receive tremendous amounts of praise after a victory. However, those figures who played a role in reaching that victory off the field receive little acknowledgment. A coach can make or break a team, but their efforts and impact on the team are often overlooked.
Competing in a competitive public school league, Schechter Westchester students are fortunate to have dedicated coaches helping them every step of the way. Now that the winter sports seasons are over, athletes on any of Schechter’s seven spring sports prepare and train for their upcoming seasons with their coaches by their sides.
Boys Varsity Baseball: Coach Scott D’Ottavio
Coach Scott D’Ottavio, also Schechter’s Athletic Director, is head coach of the varsity baseball team. He has been coaching at the school for 15 years, and this spring will be his 12th season as a coach of a varsity team. A lifelong ball player, D’Ottavio received a baseball scholarship to Manhattanville College, where he made its All Star Team and was privileged to play at Yankee Stadium. When asked about his greatest accomplishment as a coach, he said, “In 2005 we made it to the state championship game. Just everything about that experience: the team, the journey. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.” D’Ottavio did express concerns about the absence of many of the team’s players due to their time spent in Israel: “We [didn’t] have much time to practice as a team to get ready for the season.” Despite the senior players missing the beginning practices, D’Ottavio said he is still “very optimistic, and very excited for the upcoming season.” When asked about why he would encourage people to come out and support the team, he said, “When people come out to support you, you up your game and improve your playing performance. I encourage anyone to come out to see any of the contests played. [Athletes] love to see people come out.”
Boys Junior Varsity Baseball: Coach Chris Delamonico
This spring will be Coach Chris Delamonico’s 12th year coaching for Schechter Westchester and his 15th year as a coach. Delamonico has a great amount of experience with the sport. He played college baseball where he earned a spot as a player in the All-Star-Game at Yankee Stadium. He then went on to play in a Semi-Pro League. Delamonico has also been a basketball coach for the school for several years. When asked about his personal biggest accomplishment as a coach, he said, “This past basketball season, guiding our team to the Sectional semi-finals.” Delamonico is “excited for a new season.”
JV Tennis: Coach Ted Garber
Coach Ted Garber, a lifelong tennis player, is coaching our junior varsity tennis team. This is his 7th year as a tennis coach, and this past season he coached the varsity girls team at Bronxville High School to a league championship. When asked about his thoughts on the upcoming season, Garber said, “I think both JV and Varsity can have good seasons this year. There is a lot of good, young talent…Freshman Jonathan Kurlander and eighth grader Max Horowitz will lead the JV team.” We should definitely keep an eye out for this new talent and support the JV tennis team: “School spirit is important and we would appreciate any support that people give us. Plus, I think people will be treated to some high quality tennis,” Garber said.
Boys Varsity Tennis: Coach Linda Haber
Coach Linda Haber, who originally just coached the Girls’ Varsity tennis team, now coaches both the Boys’ and Girls’ Varsity tennis teams. She has been coaching for over 5 years and is an avid tennis player. She is a member of the County Tennis Club. Haber said, “My favorite part of coaching is seeing the players improve their skills and I enjoy watching them bond as a team- being inclusive and supportive of one another…My most cherished coaching moments are when my players come off the court after a match and feel good about themselves and their games.” She says that she is “looking forward to the upcoming tennis season with the Boys’ Varsity. [They] have a strong singles lineup and [she is] very optimistic that [they] will have a great season.” Keep an eye out for sophomore Jordan Scholder and freshman Adam Stein who, according to Haber, “look very promising as Varsity Singles’ players.”
Girls Varsity Softball: Coach Maria Tallman
Schechter’s very own English teacher, Coach (or Ms.) Maria Tallman, doubles as the girls’ varsity softball coach when she isn’t analyzing Lord of the Flies or throwing Gatsby parties. Ms. Tallman started as the assistant coach but took over as head coach 3 years ago. Tallman started playing t-ball at age 5 and hasn’t stopped playing the game since. She’s played every position and has even played for elite teams in the Hudson Valley; she played for the Lakeland High School Varsity team from 2001-2003. She then went onto play for the Shrub Oak Storm travel team. As a player, she was acknowledged as a competitive opponent by other teams and was voted Most Valuable Opponent twice during tournament play. When asked why she decided to coach at Schechter, Tallman said, “When you’re an adult, you don’t have the same opportunities to invest time in your interests. I don’t get to play as often as I’d like – there are only summer leagues for non-competitive adults, so coaching helps me to fuel my passion, keep me on my game and to share my knowledge and love of the sport with others”. At the beginning of the season, the softball team had difficulty finding enough players to make a team. Thankfully, through comedic recruitment posters and persuasive arguments, they finally have managed to make up a team. When asked why she would encourage people to come out and support the team, Tallman said, “You should come out and watch us play because these girls are awesome!”
Varsity Golf: Coach Craig Thomas
Coach Craig Thomas has a vast, experienced background in golf. He is currently the Head Golf Professional at Metropolis Country Club, has been a golf professional for the past 26 years, and has been a teacher of golf for 23 years. Thomas has competed in 5 Major Championships as well as 7 other PGA Tour events and 2 Champions Tour events. Thomas’ greatest accomplishments as an athlete “have been being named to represent the USA on the 2009 PGA Cup team. Winning the 2014 Senior Player of the Year and the 2004 Player of the Year here in the Metropolitan Section are also great memories,” Thomas said. This will be his second season as a coach here at Schechter Westchester and he says he is, “very optimistic that we have two players who will be tough to beat this year. [Michael] Glatstein and Lewis Raboy should both compete for a place in the state championship.”
Varsity Track & Field: Coach Mary
Coach Mary Karl has been a track coach for three years and this will be her second year coaching at Schechter Westchester. Ever since 7th grade, she’s been running track, and as a junior and senior in high school, her team won nationals. Her track team at Iona College was nationally ranked for division one during her time there. According to Karl, “Running is a good sport to take up […] if you’re trying to stay in shape for other sports.” When asked about her thoughts on the upcoming season, Karl said, “I’m excited to see what [they’re] going to do.”
There is no doubt that the hard work and dedication of the coaches contributes to each teams’ success. “Being a part of a team at Schechter is very special. There’s a real sense of teamwork and family. You can make memories that will last a lifetime,” Delamonico said. We encourage all students, faculty, and friends to come out and support the Lions athletes and wish them and their coaches the best of luck in their upcoming seasons.