Inside the AD’s Office With Sag Harbor School District's Brian Tardif - 27 East

Inside the AD’s Office With Sag Harbor School District's Brian Tardif

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Pierson Athletic Director Brian Tardif.  DANA SHAW

Pierson Athletic Director Brian Tardif. DANA SHAW

Desirée Keegan on Oct 11, 2022

Brian Tardif was striving to become an athletic director. Still, he enjoyed teaching, and wasn’t quite sure he wanted to give that up.

Little did he know he’d get to do both at Pierson High School.

“I’ve been telling everyone that this is the perfect opportunity,” he said. “It’s rare to find a job where you get to do both.”

Tardif was hired by the Sag Harbor School District to be its new athletic director this past summer, a position that, because of the district’s small size, comes with teaching one or two physical education classes each morning.

The North Fork native is a 2008 graduate of Mattituck High School, where he was a three-sport athlete, playing soccer, basketball and baseball. He earned All-County and All-State honors as a pitcher and outfielder before being recruited to play at Monmouth College.

After a year, he transferred to LIU Post where he continued contending on the diamond while earning his degree in health and physical education. He also competed in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League as a member of the North Fork Ospreys.

After student-teaching in Southold, while also coaching several sports there, he moved to Massachusetts in 2014 to take a health and physical education teacher position at Lowell Community Charter Public School. In 2017, he accepted the same position within the Quincy Public Schools. But Tardif didn’t quit learning, either, earning a master’s degree in foods, nutrition and wellness studies from Framingham State University.

Besides knowing he wanted to reach new levels within his professional career, the teacher also knew he’d eventually want to return to Long Island, purchasing a home with his wife at the end of last year. Now three months into his new position as athletic director, Tardif spoke with The Express News Group to discuss how the past few months have gone, how the path to get to this point has been and his hopes for the future.

Q: How has it been settling into the new position? What’s gone according to, or not, the plan?

The job has been a great learning experience and is something I look forward to each day. From the beginning, I have had a tremendous amount of people — both employees within the district, as well as parents — reach out to congratulate me and offer their help in any way I may need. In particular, [Superintendent] Jeff Nichols, [Middle High School Principal] Brittany Carriero, [Elementary School Principal] Matt Malone and [Guidance and Athletic Secretary] Jeanne DiSanti have been a big help from day one with their guidance and support. I am incredibly grateful with how welcoming the entire Sag Harbor community has been to me. In terms of things that have gone according to plan, I would say how well-run all of our fall teams have been. I think all of the coaches have done a great job with our student-athletes. In terms of things not going to plan, I would say just making sure to be flexible and be ready to adapt to different challenges that come each day. Not everything will go according to plan, and I think it is important to meet those challenges with patience and professionalism.

Q: When you transferred to LIU Post to earn a degree in health and physical education, was being athletic director something you were seeing on the horizon?

From a young age, I always had a strong interest in sports. Once I graduated with a degree in health and physical education, I did envision becoming an athletic director one day. The difficult part was the unknown of when and where I would be able to get the job.

Q: If it was, were you expecting to get a position like this at this stage in your career?

I think it would be difficult to say that I expected to become an athletic director at this age. What I did know was that if the opportunity presented itself, I would be ready for it.

And you’d mentioned, even though going to college in New Jersey and working in Massachusetts, that the goal was always to return to Long Island. Why is that?

Family. While I enjoyed my eight years of teaching experience in Massachusetts, the East End of Long Island was always home to me. My wife, Kate, and I grew up on the North Fork and our families still live out here. Last November, we bought my wife’s childhood home in Southold, but with the unknown of when we would be able to live out here full-time since I needed to get a job out here. When the position opened up, and I went in for an interview, the thought of being able to come back became real. After the interview, my wife and I walked through Main Street in Sag Harbor and we talked about the possibility of me working in such a beautiful place and being able to live on the North Fork full-time. When I received the phone call from Superintendent Jeff Nichols telling me that they were offering me the position it felt like a dream come true. My parents, John and Shelly, were in doubt that I would ever be able to come back to the North Fork. They are so happy and grateful that they keep telling me that it doesn’t feel real; they keep having to remind themselves that I am, in fact, back for good. With my brother, Joe, being a health and physical education teacher at Mattituck, and coaching many sports there, my parents will be able to watch a sibling rivalry with sports for years to come.

Q: I know you played in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League. Did you get a chance to see the Sag Harbor Whalers capture the championship title? How does it feel working in a place that has deep roots in the league and sports in general?

Unfortunately, I was not able to see the Whalers capture the championship this year. It feels great being able to work in a place where the community values sports as much as they do here. I know Sandi Kruel has done a tremendous job with the Hamptons league, and I appreciate the positive impact it has had on Pierson’s baseball teams. I look forward to watching Whalers games at Mashashimuet Park this coming spring.

Q: What have been some of the best parts of the job so far?

The best part has been the interaction with the students and being able to watch their hard work during practices and games. I think I have the best job in the world — being able to organize and watch our teams compete in interscholastic sports. I have also enjoyed how quickly the Pierson community has embraced me as their new athletic director. Working here has felt like a perfect fit from day one.

Q: Do you have any goals in mind? Anything you’re looking to change? Keep the same? Achieve in this new position?

I think it’s a bit too soon to get into specific goals. But in general, I want Pierson athletics to have a community feel where people who may not have a connection to any student-athletes here still want to come out and support our team and cheer on the Whalers! In terms of achievements, I hope that our current students can look back in the future and know that Pierson’s health, physical education and athletics programs had a positive impact on their lives.

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