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Sep 11, 2017 3:53 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Inside The AD's Office With Bridgehampton School's Michael DeRosa

Michael DeRosa is the new athletic director at the Bridgehampton School. DREW BUDD
Sep 12, 2017 10:09 AM

When Michael DeRosa went to Bridgehampton School earlier this summer for an interview, he was hoping to become the school’s new physical education and health teacher. Little did he know he would become the school’s athletic director as well.

DeRosa, 33, who was born and raised and still resides in Hampton Bays, interviewed for the open position with outgoing AD Mike Miller, who is now the school’s principal, and by the time the two finished having a conversation, Miller not only offered him the physical education and health teacher vacancy, but his athletic director position. DeRosa was taken aback, he admitted, but he felt like his prior experience as a teacher and coach prepared him for the job. He gladly accepted and became Miller’s successor.

DeRosa, who will be teaching two phys ed and two health classes while also serving as AD at Bridgehampton, received his bachelor’s degree and childhood certification from SUNY-Oneonta in 2007, then earned his master’s degree and phys ed certification at Hofstra University two years later. For the past five years DeRosa was a phys ed teacher at the East New York Middle School of Excellence. He’s also coached and been a camp counselor for a number of different sports at his high school alma mater, Hampton Bays, from which he graduated in 2002.

Last month, DeRosa sat down with The Press on what was just his second official day on the job, to talk about his new position and various issues revolving around East End athletics.

Question: How surprised are you to be sitting in this chair in this position?

Michael DeRosa: It is pretty crazy, but after meeting with Mike, I took all the information home with me and thought about it and said, ‘You know what? I think I prepared myself over the last six, seven, eight years.’ So this is the next step for me. I never thought this opportunity would open up. At first I was a little nervous but I’m excited.

The main reason I came back [to work on the East End] was I wanted to be a part of a community again. I’m looking forward to meeting everybody, being a member out here in the community, being an approachable person. I’m going to meet this challenge head on and enjoy it too. I think it’s a really enjoyable job.

Q: What are some of your main goals, some of the things you would like to accomplish?

MD: I want to come in here, set my mark right away, become a member of the community, get to know all of the faculty, the students. I want to be someone who everybody feels comfortable approaching and willing to work with them. I want to be a positive role model for the students, and with that, I want to be able to take care of my teaching duties while being able to balance everything, without making any big mistakes.

Q: Bridgehampton is known for its lone varsity team, Killer Bees boys basketball. How exciting is it for you to now be a part of a program with so much history and success?

MD: Like I said when I came here, when you think of the University of Kentucky, you think of Kentucky basketball. My whole life, whenever I thought of Bridgehampton, I thought of basketball.

I’m excited to come to a place that’s so accomplished and I’m excited to take on the role of, instead of being the head coach of a sport, kind of overseeing all of the coaches. I’m still involved in athletics, but I get to take a step back and I still get to see kids excel in athletics, which is a large part of what I love about the job.

Q: There is a large, $24.7 million expansion planned for the school next year, where a new gym and locker room is expected to be built, among other things. With that, are there any plans on expanding the school’s athletic program?

MD: We haven’t totally talked about it. Personally I thought about it because I know the school is going to expand. I’m not sure if that means there’s going to be an expansion in enrollment. It very well could, I haven’t spoken to Mike [Miller] about it. Those are things to think about. I don’t think we’re there yet, just because of enrollment. We have cheerleading and basketball, there’s 60-something kids, and that’s males and females, so that’s 30 kids we can use for teams at the moment.

Q: Issues have popped up over the past few years with football and the future of it on the East End—East Hampton just recently canceled its varsity and junior varsity seasons for this fall. What are your overall thoughts on football?

MD: I played soccer in high school, because my mom made me, but senior year, I did say, ‘Listen, mom, I’m playing football.’ So I went out there, first game ever, got carted off in an ambulance for tackling with my head down because I wasn’t taught the proper technique.

It’s a violent sport. I still love it. Hopefully the coaches know what they’re doing. That would be my major concern. I don’t want to see football decline, it’s a very popular sport, people love playing it, but I understand why people wouldn’t want to play it because of the longterm effects it can have on you. I still have neck pains till this day.

Like I said, I love football, I’m going to go to the Southampton games because we do partner up with them and have a few kids on that team. I don’t want to knock football. I think the coaches need to be properly taught and be prepared about concussion protocols, spinal injuries.

Q: You said earlier that you took classes to get your coaching certification with Hampton Bays Athletic Director Drew Walker. Now that the two of you share the same duties, are you going to go back to him and ask him for any help early on?

MD: Drew was the athletic director when I was a student at Hampton Bays, so it must have been his first couple of years, he’s been doing it for 20 years now. And I’ve been camp counselor in Hampton Bays in the summer, so I ran into Drew. He congratulated me and I asked if I could pick his brain, maybe go out to lunch or something. We went into his office one day and he mentored me, showed me the ropes, showed me certain dates and all these rules that go long with being an AD, the hierarchy of it and how it’s kind of like a mini government. He took his time to sit down with me, which I really appreciated. He gave me his phone number and I’m going to use him as one of my main resources. I’ve known him for a very long time so I know I can trust him.

Q: Being at Bridgehampton you’ll have the rare situation with only dealing with a few teams while many of your athletes will travel to neighboring districts to play various sports. What’s that going to be like for you?

MD: I was just telling one of the other teachers today, that if there is a new job that you’re coming into where you don’t really have experience, this is probably the one to do it. You’re forced to work with other schools and other ADs, pick their brains and see how everything functions. There’s not too many things on site, especially in the fall, so you can ease into it, kind of learn everything. I’m going to go to the first AD meetings in September, October, see how everything works. I’m lucky I’ve still got Mike here, he’s right next door, and every time I have a question he’s been so helpful for me.

I wasn’t just thrown out in the water with the sharks, I’m taking it step by step and I think this a great place and I think I’m going to thrive with it. I’m very excited for the opportunity, but to go see some players that do go to other schools, I’m still traveling, so I’ll have to adjust my time where I’m going each day. I want to let my athletes know that they’re all important, regardless of the sport.

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