By Andrew Smith
Spring sports have arrived at Adelphi. Athletes have been practicing and have played in their first weeks of the regular season. The coaching staff of each team have been working hard to prepare their athletes for the struggles and grind of a long season. Head coaches William Ianniciello, David Mattana and Gordon Purdie have been working tirelessly to prepare their players for the season.
Since 2012, Ianniciello has been coaching at Adelphi first as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He worked up the ranks to become the interim head coach in April 2021 and now he holds the position of head coach of the baseball team, which plays in the Northeast 10 conference (NE-10).
Coach Ianniciello discussing pre-game matters with the game staff.
Before working at Adelphi, Ianniciello worked for the New York Mets for 31 years through 2010. He said for his last 17 years he was vice president of Ticket Sales and Services.
“Starting in my [later] years there, I coached summer collegiate league baseball on Long Island from 2007-2011. In 2011-2012, I was an assistant coach at Queens College. From 2012 through last summer, I have been a head coach in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, featuring players from top college programs around the country,” he said.
While the season has just begun, Ianniciello discussed key moments that the team has been able to rally around. “Our returning All-American Honorable Mention third baseman, Matt Alifano, has already captured [NE10] Player of the Week Honors. Fifth-year pitcher, Andrew Williams, threw six shutout innings in our win against Mercy College. Going forward, we are looking to build upon the success and excitement we enjoyed last year and to continue bringing quality student-athletes into the university and our program,” he said.
Mattana has been coaching Adelphi golf since September 2021. Before working at Adelphi, Mattana was the head coach at Nassau Community College for three years. In 2019, he led the Nassau team to a XV Regional Championship and to a tenth place finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament.
Coach Mattana watching his players prepare for a tournament match.
Mattana reflected on the past season and what he is looking forward to this upcoming season. “Our fall season was very encouraging. We had two players: junior, Andrew [Brunozzi] and senior, Luke [Bucci] win individual tournament titles, and we won the team title at the St. Joseph’s College Fall Invitational, the team’s first win in many years,” he said. “We also saw significant contributions from a talented freshman class. Overall, the team performed at a significantly higher level in virtually every tournament than it had in prior recent seasons. While the fall is our championship season, we have five high-level tournaments this spring in which we expect our performance to continue to improve. This spring, we are aided by the addition of former St. John’s golfer Matt [Sweeney] to the coaching staff.”
Purdie, head coach of the men's lacrosse team, was hired in 2007. He currently holds the second most wins of all time for this program. He cites the importance of roster construction for that success.
Coach Purdie discussing game strategy with his players. Purdie emphasizes the importance of being both physically and mentally prepared for each game.
“We have 18 transfers on our team and while one may think that would be a difficult year the team has united,” he said. “The road to success is always under construction. With so many transfers and new players on our squad this season, we have players that are capable of helping us achieve our goals. Although we started our preseason on January 17, we have yet to play a game with our full roster or play our best lacrosse. We look for any competitive edge that can help us be both physically and mentally prepared.”
Purdie also shared his feelings on returning for his fifteenth season at Adelphi. “Coming back for my 15th season as the head coach strangely makes me feel like I’m getting old. It seems like yesterday when I was wearing the Adelphi jersey, yet my first game as a panther was over 35 years ago.”
The success of a team is rooted in a strong leader. These head coaches are showing that they are dedicated and prepared to lead their respective teams to a successful season.