It is under tough circumstances, to be sure. But make no mistake: Larry Badaracco’s excited to be New Milford’s next football coach.
In a pinch to get a coach in place before the season with the unexpected resignation of John Murphy, New Milford hired the assistant coach to lead the Green Wave in 2014.
He was named coach on Thursday morning, 19 days before the team’s first fall practice.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” he said. “This has been a goal of mine ever since I’d been a football player.
“Sure, it’s strange how this came about. You never want to see a coach like Murph move along at the last minute. It’s going to be tough to take over so soon. But my family’s thrilled and I’m really excited about the potential of this team.”
He hasn’t been with the program very long. He joined Murphy’s staff in November and assisted the team during spring practices.
After Murphy resigned in June, Badaracco guided the team through its offseason program, including passing leagues and weight training.
“I just kept preparing, every day, like the job was going to be mine,” he said.
Badaracco, 32, grew up in Danbury and played football at Immaculate and at Western Connecticut State, where he graduated in 2005.
He was an assistant at WestConn from 2007-2011 and spent two years out of coaching before coming to New Milford. He coached the Green Wave boys tennis team last spring.
This is Badaracco’s first head coaching job in football. He replaces Murphy, the former championship coach from Masuk who coached the Wave to a 4-7 record in his one season.
“We’re going to hit the ground running,” Badaracco said.
To ease the transition, Badaracco said he’ll be keeping Murphy’s offense and will keep several assistants who have expressed a desire to stay with the program. Badaracco said he’d like to “tighten things up” on New Milford’s defense, which allowed 418 points last year.
“I’m pretty familiar with what we have,” Badaracco said. “I’m pretty in tune with our abilities, our strengths and our weaknesses at this point. We have a lot of competition at all the positions across the board. We have a lot of kids and a lot of enthusiasm.”
Murphy resigned for “personal reasons,” in June, though the NewsTimes also reported that the school district was investigating him for as yet unknown reasons.
New Milford’s fall football practice begins August 18.