Fujita Out, White Back in as Pierson Boys Basketball Head Coach; East Hampton Looks To Fill Its Vacancy Sooner Rather Than Later - 27 East

Fujita Out, White Back in as Pierson Boys Basketball Head Coach; East Hampton Looks To Fill Its Vacancy Sooner Rather Than Later

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Will Fujita   RON ESPOSITO

Will Fujita RON ESPOSITO

Dan White coaching the Bonackers back in 2017.   MICHAEL HELLER

Dan White coaching the Bonackers back in 2017. MICHAEL HELLER

Will Fujita coaching the Pierson boys basketball during the playoffs this past season.  MARIANNE BARNETT

Will Fujita coaching the Pierson boys basketball during the playoffs this past season. MARIANNE BARNETT

Dan White coaching the Bonackers back in 2017.   MICHAEL HELLER

Dan White coaching the Bonackers back in 2017. MICHAEL HELLER

Will Fujita coached the Pierson varsity boys basketball team for three season.   RON ESPOSITO

Will Fujita coached the Pierson varsity boys basketball team for three season. RON ESPOSITO

Will Fujita coaching the Whalers in their state semifinal game in 2022.   MICHAEL HELLER

Will Fujita coaching the Whalers in their state semifinal game in 2022. MICHAEL HELLER

Will Fujita hoisting the Class C Regional Championship plaque in 2022.   DREW BUDD

Will Fujita hoisting the Class C Regional Championship plaque in 2022. DREW BUDD

Will Fujita hoisting the Class C Regional Championship plaque in 2022.   DREW BUDD

Will Fujita hoisting the Class C Regional Championship plaque in 2022. DREW BUDD

Will Fujita hoisting the Class C Regional Championship plaque in 2022.   DREW BUDD

Will Fujita hoisting the Class C Regional Championship plaque in 2022. DREW BUDD

Drew Budd on Aug 9, 2023

The coaching carousel in varsity boys basketball on the South Fork continues.

Just over two months after Carl Johnson announced he was coming out of retirement to return as head coach of the Bridgehampton boys basketball team after Ron White took a position with the Stony Brook School, two more schools said this week that they will have new coaches when the season begins later this winter.

Will Fujita is not returning as head coach of the Pierson boys basketball team after taking a similar position he held within the Sag Harbor School District as orchestra teacher in his hometown Southold School District. Fujita’s vacancy was quickly filled by a familiar name in Sag Harbor, Dan White, who was the head coach of the varsity boys basketball team at neighboring East Hampton, literally up until he basically found out about Fujita’s departure last week.

White had been leading East Hampton’s Summer League team all offseason and was very much entrenched within the program, coming off one of its best seasons in recent memory, until he was tipped off of Fujita’s departure.

“I wasn’t planning on going back to Pierson,” White said on Monday. “We had a great offseason at East Hampton. That sophomore class is amazing. They’ll be solid next year, and then two years after that they’ll be at the top of their league again.”

White, a physical education teacher already within the Sag Harbor School District, who coached basketball at Pierson for six years before taking the position at East Hampton, said it was last Wednesday when he got a phone call from Pierson Athletic Director Brian Tardif and principal Brittany Carriero letting him know that the position was open.

“My wife and I and our kids live in North Sea. We’ve got a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old, and the plan all along was to see this sophomore class through and that was probably going to be it for me at East Hampton,” he explained. “My life during basketball season, it just wasn’t sustainable for my wife, and so I called her immediately after I got off the phone with the Tardifs and she gave me the thumbs up and said I could coach at Pierson for as long as I want. I can be at practices right after school instead of being in traffic getting to East Hampton. I’m also very close with the senior class already at Pierson, with guys like Charlie McLean and Luke Seltzer, kids who I had in Youth Hoops, and so this is something that my family and I can do and we’re very happy about.”

School officials at Pierson, as of Tuesday morning, had not confirmed any of the moves. A phone call and text was not returned by Tardif. But from multiple accounts, it all seemed to be on the up-and-up.

Fujita, when reached on Monday, said he appreciated his time in Sag Harbor, and it was a memorable time period. In his seven years, three on JV and the past four on varsity, Fujita helped lead the varsity team to the New York State Class C Final Four in 2022, winning multiple county titles along the way, including Long Island and Regional titles.

“I am very grateful to Sag Harbor for the seven years that they gave me,” he said. “This was a very difficult decision in large part because of the kids and the people I got to work with over the last seven years.”

Fujita said it’s most likely not the last time he’ll be on a basketball court.

“I want to dig my heels in and start working on the music program at Southold, and then if an opportunity presents itself, I could be back coaching,” he said. “But it was really difficult to walk away from Sag Harbor considering how great the kids are.”

Now all eyes are on East Hampton as its next move will be to fill its coaching vacancy. Bonac Athletic Director Kathy Masterson has been working on that basically since she got the call last week from White that he’d be leaving. She holds no ill will toward White and understood the situation.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I love to have every single one of my coaches here in the high school to be with their kids,” she said. “So it was a smart move on [Superintendent Jeff Nichols] and Brian and Brittney’s part to reach out to Dan. I am sad to see him go, but I only wish him the best. This is better for him personally and his family. Dan gave us some of the best years of service while he was our head coach here at East Hampton. He went above and beyond. The stuff that he would do, not only for the kids in East Hampton but for the community and keeping the basketball traditions and history here was phenomenal.”

Masterson certainly has her options to fill the position, both internally and externally. Though she couldn’t say who her recommendation to the School Board will be, she did say she foresees the position being filled and announced at the upcoming board meeting this Tuesday, August 15.

“This is such an important position to fill, with Coach [Ed] Petrie’s history that goes along with East Hampton basketball, we want to make the right decision,” she said.

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