Q&A with future Athletics Director Matthew Russo


Courtesy of Barry Mason, VICTORY Russo poses with student.

James Zaidman, Staff Writer

What are you most looking forward to as the future Athletics Director?

I’m really excited about the Physical Education [aspect], as well as the athletics, and just trying to have more of a connection with the whole student body rather than just the kids I coach.

What are some lessons you’ve learned from Mr. Annunziata that you might carry with you next year?

Mr. Annunziata has had an incredible career for 35 years. He has brought so much programming to the school, and has done such a fantastic job that it would almost be impossible to fill his shoes. Mr. Annunziata has been incredibly gracious in showing me the ropes, so we will certainly continue a lot of the things that he has established until I get my own feet on the ground and can figure it out from there.

I just think his ability to build programs is amazing. We have a ton of teams, and kids that want to try something are given the opportunity to try something, so I think putting the students first will be something I continue to try to do on a daily basis.

What changes will you implement?

I haven’t really thought too much about all the changes and things like that. I do see some room for change in Phys. Ed, though. I want to try some different things to make Phys. Ed. a little more fun and worthwhile. 

What will your role as Athletics Director entail? 

It’ll be a similar role. Because of all of his years [at the school], Mr. Annunziata was involved in a lot of things outside of Horace Mann, like the Ivy [Preparatory] league itself and other league affiliations, which I will not be involved in. I will have an opportunity to just really concentrate on HM and try to do a good job here.

What is your favorite part about teaching athletics and Physical Education?

It’s always been the life lessons that come along with the job and the teaching. Coaching is an extension of the academic experience. Our classrooms might look different, but the educational piece is still very much prevalent.

What has been your favorite moment at the school?

I’ve been really fortunate and lucky to have some great, great players play for me, who have gone on to do incredible things. A lot of the time, they’ll come back or we’ll chat on email, and they say that football or baseball was one of the better experiences they had at HM. Things like that always make me feel really good, because you are making an impact on a young adolescents’ life and lives. I’ve had a few different moments where I know I’ve connected and helped students and that always feels really good.