This spring, the Nyack athletic department found itself in a lurch. Just before the season began, athletic director Joe Sigillo found himself without a modified baseball coach. So he turned — as he has several times before — to Mike Ramponi, the football coach who has been much more than just that during his 14 years in Nyack.
“He’s a guy who did a lot of things and filled a lot of holes for us,” Sigillo said.
That vast experience has allowed the 36-year old to take the next step. He was appointed Tuesday night as the new athletic director at Ardsley, leaving Nyack in search of new football and girls basketball coaches.
Ramponi’s departure also leaves a physical education opening at Valley Cottage Elementary School — a job the 1997 Tappan Zee grad started at just 23.
“It was not easy,” Ramponi said. “When Ardsley offered me the position and it became real, it was definitely a hard choice. I’ve been in Rockland my whole life and I live about six or seven miles from where I work. I feel like I know a lot of people in the community and I think that’s the hardest part. It’s not giving up what I’m doing but leaving and detaching from the relationships I’ve built over the years.”
Ramponi ran the football program for the last five seasons and was an assistant for nine seasons before that. He replaced John Castellano as the head coach in 2011, following Castellano’s 180 wins in 23 years, which included two state titles. Before then, Ramponi coached the boys basketball program for four seasons after replacing Gary Gray, who won 432 games in 26 years. He coached the girls team the last two seasons, giving him insight into the subtle differences between boys and girls sports.
Those experiences were wide-ranging, the transitions a challenge. Ramponi believes they were lessons he can apply to his new post. He’s scheduled to replace athletic director Hank Roth, who served 20 years in the role and has been an educator locally for the last 45 years.
“I’ve been in that position twice,” Ramponi said. “I know what it’s like to take over for somebody who is well-respected and who has been around for a long time.”
“We’re definitely going to miss Mike,” Sigillo said. “He made an impact here in a lot of different areas. Starting with teaching elementary phys ed., he had a unique opportunity to impact kids’ lives from kindergarten through high school. This is a tough loss for the district, but we know he’ll do a great job at Ardsley.”
Sigillo said the school is in “the early stages” of its search for new football and girls basketball coaches.