Former Stratford High star Dannie Powell is returning to the South-West Conference, across town from where he used to dominate the league on a regular basis.
Powell on Monday was named the new boys basketball coach at Bunnell. He replaces Pat Yerina, who resigned in June after 21 seasons and subsequently took the same job at Joel Barlow.
Powell previously served as an assistant under Yerina at Bunnell for four seasons (2010-14). He also had two stints as an assistant at Fairfield Prep under Leo Redgate. In between, he was the head coach for one season (2015-16) at Capital Prep Harbor School in Bridgeport.
“I really wasn’t looking to apply for any jobs,” Powell, 33, said. “But when this one opened it was kind of a no-brainer, given my past coaching here. … I couldn’t pass up the chance.”
Powell made his name as a star guard at rival Stratford, scoring over 1,000 points and making a pair of all-state teams. He graduated in 2003.
“Bunnell kind of became home to me because everyone I know from (Stratford’s) administration to coaching staff is gone,” Powell said. “I haven’t been back to Stratford for so long.”
After high school, Powell played at Carl Albert State College in Oklahoma before landing at Central Connecticut State for two seasons. He was part of the 2007 team that qualified for the NCAA tournament.
Powell had applied for more than a handful of head coaching jobs throughout Connecticut over the past few seasons, hoping to land somewhere he could call home. While he was passed over at places like Hopkins School, Jonathan Law and Stratford, Powell stayed patient. He knew the right opportunity would come along.
“I’ve made it far in the interview process (during my job search),” Powell said. “It just wasn’t my time, I guess.”
It turns out the opportunity he was looking for was right at home.
“I’m thankful to the administration for giving me an opportunity,” he said. “I’m very motivated. I’ve been passed up on a lot of jobs throughout the process. I tried to build up a resume for someone to give me an opportunity.
“I’m looking to build something special at Bunnell.”
Joe Morelli contributed to this story