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Being an athletic director for an area high school is always challenging, but the winter of 2014 has made Ricky Narracci's first year in charge of the East Haven sports programs one he won't soon forget.
The main difference between being a coach and an athletic director (AD), according to Ricky, "is as an AD you are responsible for everything-from the gym lights being on, to janitors being in place, to the school buses running on time."
"As a coach," Ricky says, "you pretty much just had to take care of the team-understanding that can be a full-time job in itself. But as an AD, well," he says, "let's just leave it that it's a little different."
And what has made this year a tough one for Ricky and his fellow area athletic directors is, simply, "the crazy winter weather we've had."
School delays and cancellations due to snow are a real headache not just for students, parents, and teachers, but for athletes, referees, coaches, and athletic directors.
Ricky is not just an athletic director at East Haven-he also coaches the boys' basketball team and teaches four physical education classes.
In other words, he's a busy guy.
"I get in early," he says with a little smile, "and I wind up going home late-usually after one of the teams had finished up playing a night game.
"This year, in large part due to the harsh winter weather, when I'm not teaching, coaching, or doing paperwork," Ricky says, "I spend most of my time on the phone or emailing, or checking websites to try and keep track of cancellations, rescheduling games, etc."
To illustrate how busy his job is, the day of his interview, Ricky had to excuse himself a number of different times-to meet with staff, take a few phone calls, and "put out a few fires."
Ricky was formally appointed East Haven's new athletic director last September. He's familiar with the school and has strong ties to East Haven.
Ricky's mother and father both still live in town and, while he now lives in Morris Cove, "I grew up in East Haven. All my friends growing up were from East Haven. I consider this home, and there's no place I'd rather be."
Ricky graduated from East Haven in 1989, went on to get his physical education degree at Eastern Connecticut State University, and has also been a varsity and assistant coach for a plethora of sports, in both East Haven and North Haven.
Ricky played both basketball and tennis while in high school and has held plenty of coaching positions. Prior to being the boys' basketball coach at East Haven, Ricky held the same post at Guilford from 2000-'03.
He's also been a head coach for East Haven's tennis and cross country teams for a year each, coached the girls' basketball team, and was an assistant for track and softball.
Ricky says "there are lots of long hours in this job, but I knew that going in, and it's not something that bothers me. I really enjoy working with the kids, the staff, my fellow coaches, and teachers."
The little time Ricky does have off, he says he tries to exercise as much as he possibly can, though he's had "trouble with a bad back lately that has kept my activities limited."
When his back is up to it, and the weather warms up, Ricky is also an avid golfer. He also says he enjoys traveling and time away from the rigors of the job when he has time off.
His favorite vacation spot?
"Anywhere warm," Ricky says with a smile.