A reshuffling in the South Colonie school district has helped fill the remaining vacant athletic director posts in the Suburban Council.
Former Colonie head varsity wrestling coaches Matt Stein and Joe Guardino are the new athletic directors at Mohonasen and Colonie, respectively.
Their appointments ended a busy year that will see four of the league’s 12 schools with different ADs since the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.
Stein succeeds Joe Scalise, who moved from Mohonasen to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake to replace Bob McGuire, who has retired. Guardino is replacing Jason Semo at Colonie, Mark Bubniak took over in the Averill Park district recently and Leonard Kies replaced John DeMeo at Bethlehem during the 2013-14 school year, when DeMeo took a different position in the Delmar school.
“I had been considering going the administration route the past few years, specifically the AD route, and a few opportunities arose,” said Stein, a former state wrestling champ who served as varsity coach for that sport at Waterford-Halfmoon, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk and Colonie.
Since stepping down from his position as varsity wrestling coach, Stein was one of the chief movers in the Colonie youth football and wrestling programs. His new position will not allow him to coach.
“The coaching aspect is done,” Stein said. “But that would be taking me away from my job. I need to be available and supportive of the coaches and athletes at Mohonasen.”
Stein, who had been at Colonie since 2005, also managed the school’s $1.7 million federal Physical Education Program Grant. That experience helped when he applied for the post at the Rotterdam school.
“I’m sure that helped from the standpoint of what they were looking for,” said Stein, noting that Mohonasen is in the process of a planning and implementing a $48.2 million capital construction project, some $3 million of which is geared to upgrading the high school’s athletic facilities.
“I had done the grant work and some administrative duties at Colonie the past few years,” Stein said. “So, I’m familiar with that end of it.”
Stein is going from one of the top schools, enrollment-wise, in the Suburban to the smallest,
“There are going to be challenges, being the smallest school in the league,” he said. “But I’m big on program building, from the K-12, establishing a feeder system, getting the community involved.”
Stein was approved by the school board and hired August 4. He officially begins his new position Monday, the first day of practice for fall teams.
“Right into the fire,” Stein said. “But, I’m looking forward to it.”
Guardino succeeded Stein as the head wrestling coach at Colonie, stepping down three years ago. He had been the principal at Lisha Kill Middle School since 2008.
“We had a lot of reshuffling in the district,” understated Guardino, who was appointed to his new job when Semo left to take the AD job at Newburgh Free Academy. “We have a new high school principal, new principals at both junior high schools and a new PR person.”
Guardino, whose son, Kevin, plays soccer and wrestles at Shenendehowa, has had a busy summer.
“Jason was leaving to take his new job, but he stayed and helped me with the transition. We had some 8 o’clock nights this summer when I think we were the only people in the building,” said Guardino, who came to Colonie from Watertown in 1995.
“This is a huge change for me, so I’m thankful for everything Jason did to help me. I know some of the athletic directors from my coaching days, and I know some others from attending various events.
“The main thing I want to do is get some stability in the athletic and phys ed departments.”
Semo succeeded long-time Colonie AD Dave Faust three years ago.
“Dave had a great program running here, and Jason was kind of the middle man, and I want to keep things heading in the right direction,” Guardino said.
Guardino will work to become a familiar face for the school district’s athletes.
“A big part of the job is to support our student athletes and coaches,” said Guardino, who officially began his new position on August 1.