Just before his second anniversary as Southold’s athletic director, Joe Braico is leaving the district for a job closer to home.
Mr. Braico, who lives in Plainview, will become the athletic director at the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District in January. He’ll be leaving Southold at the end of this month.
“I loved it out here. I was very happy out here. The community has been absolutely fantastic. I loved every moment of my time out here,” Mr. Braico said Monday.
The move will give him more time to spend with his 19-month-old daughter Gabriella, Mr. Braico said. He had considered moving his family to Southold, but said the job opening in Plainview was “too much to pass up.”
“I had envisioned I would be in Southold for the rest of my life,” he said. “I’m forever indebted for being allowed the opportunity to work in such a great community.”
Mr. Braico said he informed the school district he was leaving in mid-November. He has been the athletic director in Southold since Dec. 15, 2010.
Southold Superintendent David Gamberg said the school board will likely be ready to appoint a new interim athletic director by its next meeting Dec. 19. He said he expects the interim AD will work through the end of the 2012-13 school year, after which the district will appoint someone on a permanent basis.
Mr. Gamberg described Mr. Braico’s departure as “bittersweet,” adding that he believed the AD had been happy in Southold but was presented with an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“He was very supportive of PE teachers who did team-building exercises. He was very much supportive of scholar athletes and the sportsmanship part of the ledger,” added Mr. Gamberg. “Sportsmanship is very important. That’s what we’re looking for in his replacement.”
Mr. Braico’s announcement comes just a week after Greenport athletic director Todd Gulluscio of Shelter Island announced he’s leaving to become Sag Harbor’s athletic director.
Mr. Gamberg said it’s hard to tell whether it’s difficult to find athletic directors willing to work in small North Fork districts, since whether the area is a good fit for a candidate depends on individual circumstances. He said the school is planning to cast a wide net in finding a permanent replacement.
“I like to think this is a very good place to work,” he said. “We’d like stability in this position. That’s very important to our programs.”