Coaching at Williams: the roles of assistants speak out

Overseeing the defensive line, running drills, reviewing play footage and managing the recruitment process count as only a few of the responsibilities the College’s assistant coaches take on as they look to develop their careers. Arriving in the Purple Valley from various professional backgrounds, the corps of assistant coaches see their time in Williamstown as a great springboard towards a multitude of opportunities down the road.

“I was always aware of Williams and the NESCAC as being a great league, especially for lacrosse,” Men’s Lacrosse Assistant Coach Andrew Vigne said.

Assistant Coach of Women’s Basketball Alexandra Dellas similarly began her current position with no prior employment at the College. “I realized that the part of sports I loved (and missed) the most was being apart of a team. So I called my former head coaches and asked them if they could help find me a coaching position. Coach Manning called me up, we had a great conversation and I drove over from Cleveland, Ohio about 36 hours later. She offered me the job during the interview, and I immediately accepted!”

Other members of the Williams community currently serving as assistant coaches came into their jobs with previous experience. Assistant Coach of Men’s Soccer Jeff Huffman held a seasonal position performing in a similar capacity from 2002-03 before receiving an offer for a full-time head-coaching job at a Div. I junior college in Kansas, a position he held until the Fall of 2009 before returning to Williamstown. “I started working in an official capacity with the program again in the Fall of 2010 and have continued to since that time,” said Huffman. Similarly, Assistant Coach of Field Hockey Nicole Matos knew of the opening on the team as a result of her prior working relations with Head Coach of Field Hockey Alix Barrale ’93. “I have worked with Alix in the past, and she offered me the job to be her assistant this past summer after I graduated college.”

Even out of season, assistant coaches work on building a stronger team for next season. “When the team is out of season a few of the projects we work on are summer camp logistics (day camps and elite clinics), further breaking down our own game film to see what worked and what didn’t work throughout the season, arranging our winter trip, organizing plays and drills for next season’s personnel and, most importantly, recruiting,” Dellas said.

Huffman additionally emphasized the significance of recruiting’s role in the off-season. “I manage our recruiting database of over 275 kids from the 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes, having consistent communication with them in one aspect or another, looking to get updated info on them so our files stay current.” Matos added that her job outside of the fall consists almost entirely of “recruiting, recruiting, recruiting.”

However, the College’s assistant coaches do not dedicate themselves wholly to their work on the team. Vigne makes sure to “try to spend time with my family and play as much golf as I can.” Some coaches picks up additional work to bring in a spplemental income. Ultimately, these coaches largely hope to continue their careers in a head coaching position or supervisory role. “In the future I would like to move into another Div. III program as a full-time assistant or as a head coach if it was the right fit.” Dellas said. Vigne commented: “My career goal is to become a head coach. Working with George and [Head Coach of Women’s Lacrosse] Chris [Mason] has been a great experience and I’ve learned a great deal from both of them.”