06/26/15 2:43pm
06/26/2015 2:43 PM
Mike Buck coaching his first game at Mercy. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Former NFL quarterback Mike Buck, shown coaching his first game at Bishop McGann-Mercy in 2014, is the new coach of the Greenport Porters . (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

The Greenport/Southold/Mattituck high school football team has a new head coach, and it hasn’t lost its old one.  (more…)

10/29/14 2:00pm
10/29/2014 2:00 PM

Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field at Greenport High School was aglow Friday night. Its green field was lined, marked and shining under the lights. The scoreboard was lit and spectators were in the stands. The scene was typical for a Friday night in October in Porterland.

What wasn’t typical, however, was just about everything else about the occasion. (more…)

10/22/14 11:41pm
10/22/2014 11:41 PM

Greenport:Southold:Mattituck football player Matt Drinkwater 101814 copy

Small roster sizes are nothing new for the high school football team that plays in Greenport. For decades the Porters have had to make do with what they had in terms of low player numbers.

But when the plug was pulled on the remainder of Greenport/Southold/Mattituck’s season on Tuesday, it sent a shock wave through the North Fork, particularly in Greenport, which has a proud tradition in the sport. (more…)

10/22/14 1:05pm
(Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Injuries took their toll on the Porters’ season this year. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

With its latest loss, the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck high school football team may have sensed that its season would be cut short of the playoffs. As it turned out, the Porters’ season was cut even shorter than that.

The final image of the Porters this year will be of them trudging off the field at Port Jefferson High School following a 19-0 loss on Saturday.

The remainder of the Porters’ season has been canceled because of a shortage of players, the result of injuries.  (more…)

09/17/14 5:00pm
09/17/2014 5:00 PM
Zach Holmes of Greenport/Southold/Mattituck tries to thwart an attempted tackle by Babylon's James Messina. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Zach Holmes of Greenport/Southold/Mattituck tries to thwart an attempted tackle by Babylon’s James Messina. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Friday night marked the opening game for the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck high school football team’s season, and Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field at Greenport High School may have never looked so nice. Along with the plush grass field, which has been well-watered, there were new NFL-style goal posts. The recently painted purple and gold bleachers looked brilliant in the fading sunlight as kickoff time approached. And there, on the south end of the field, was the sharp looking scoreboard, which was installed last season.

Ah, yes, the scoreboard.

On a night when the game was cut and dried, it was the scoreboard that provided the only real controversy — if you want to call it that — of the evening. (more…)

01/15/14 1:34pm
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Greenport School District athletic director Jim Caliendo, right, and high school principal Leonard Skuggevik at an August public forum discussing the school’s new track program.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Greenport School District athletic director Jim Caliendo, right, and high school principal Leonard Skuggevik at an August public forum discussing the school’s new track program.

The Greenport school board is expected to appoint three track coaches at Wednesday night’s regular meeting, according to the agenda.

Superintendent Michael Comanda has made the following coach recommendations for the current school year:

• Maria Troise, boys varsity track

• Michael Gunther, girls varsity track

• Pamela Foote, junior high school boys and girls track

Over the summer, local parents started a fundraising campaign to get the school’s track ready for competitions by soliciting volunteers and donations.

For the past two years, Greenport track players have practiced in Mattituck, although the districts maintained separate track teams. Greenport school officials have said that since an agreement with Mattituck ended at the end of last school year, there was no time to plan and budget for reconstructing their own school’s track.

Since then the Southold School District, which didn’t have a track team, agreed to join Greenport in its efforts and the neighboring districts created a combined track team for this school year. Although the cinder track won’t be ready for home meets, players will be able to practice there and compete in away meets during the spring season, which starts in March.

In addition to donations, state Senator Ken LaValle secured additional aide for the districts’ joint-project last fall.

The school board is also expected to accept a $2,500 donation from Suffolk County National Bank for the track program.

Athletic director Jim Caliendo said construction remains on schedule and he’s excited for the season to begin. He also said he’s proud of the grassroots effort, which was done by residents, local business owners and the district’s maintenance workers.

“We’re good to go,” Mr. Caliendo said. “I’m very happy. The community has been outstanding.”

Scroll down to view the complete agenda. Check back for an update.

Greenport school board meeting agenda, Jan. 15, 2014.

08/23/13 3:09pm
08/23/2013 3:09 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Greenport School District athletic director Jim Caliendo, right, and high school principal Leonard Skuggevik at Thursday’s public forum discussing the school’s track.

Greenport School District officials are asking the community’s help to get the school’s track ready for competition.

During a public forum to discuss the track’s future, high school principal Leonard Skuggevik suggested to a group of parents that they focus on fundraising efforts as the district finalizes a complete list of what the track team will need this season and how much each item will cost.

Although the focus of Thursday’s meeting was about raising nearly $8,000 to purchase a high jump mat, Greenport Athletic Director Jim Caliendo said Friday he’s received calls from a few local school districts offering to donate the mat.

The Mattituck-Cutchogue and Greenport school districts are pursuing separate projects to reconstruct their respective high school tracks since ending an agreement that allowed Greenport students to practice in Mattituck.

For the past two years, Greenport athletes have practiced in Mattituck, although the districts have maintained separate track teams. During a Mattituck school board meeting in June, high school principal Shawn Petretti denied allegations that the district had canceled the agreement with Greenport and said the school was simply following Section XI rules. At the time, Mr. Petretti said Section XI, which governs high school sports in Suffolk County, states that a school district must provide facilities if enough students form a team.

Greenport school officials have said that because the announcement from Mattituck was made in the spring, there was no time to plan and budget for reconstructing their school’s track.

Since Mattituck and Greenport parted ways, the Southold School District, which doesn’t currently have a track team, has agreed to join Greenport in its efforts and plans to create a combined track team with Greenport this coming school year. The team will compete in the spring track season, which starts in March. There will not be a winter track team.

Mr. Caliendo said he believes about 100 students will play on the 7-12th grade boys and girls varsity teams this season. The teams will have three coaches.

He also gave an update on the district’s progress with the track, in which five of the six lanes are currently unusable because they are heavily covered with weeds. School officials said they believe the district last had a track team in the 1970s.

Mr. Caliendo said the Mezynieski family from Driftwood Farms in Orient and John Costello from Costello Marine Contracting in Greenport have volunteered to do the construction. He said he believes the work will be done before school starts next month. He added the district is also borrowing equipment from Mattituck schools to help fix the cinder track.

While there’s also a plan to clear weeds from Greenport’s pole vault runway, Mr. Caliendo said it will not be practice-ready for the track team this year.

He said a sand pit for long and triple jumps will be ready since the district is reusing sand recently removed from the elementary school’s playground, which is currently under construction.

Heather Walker and Lisa DeLuca, both parents of Greenport track team athletes, kicked around fundraising ideas after the public forum and said they plan to launch a Facebook page to promote the cause.

Ms. DeLuca said she was impressed with how the district was able to develop a plan within a short period of time.

“I can’t believe how you were able to get everything done,” she told Mr. Skuggevik and Mr. Caliendo. “So, thank you.”

“That’s what I’m here to do,” Mr. Caliendo replied.

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06/11/13 5:00pm
06/11/2013 5:00 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Rob Costantini, who has served as Greenport's athletic director for over 15 years, will retire at the end of this month.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Rob Costantini, who has served as Greenport’s athletic director for more than 15 years, will retire at the end of this month.

One of the more familiar faces of Greenport athletics is stepping down and retiring — again.

This retirement, Greenport’s athletic director, Rob Costantini, said, will stick.

“I’m done; I’m finished,” he told The Suffolk Times. “I’m not coming back. Never say never, but in all likelihood, I’m done.”

Costantini’s 15-year run as the head of Greenport’s athletic department ended when he retired in 2010. But then, after his successor, Todd Gulluscio, left to take the same post at Pierson High School this past December, Costantini agreed to come back and fill in for a six-month spell that will conclude at the end of this month.

“It was a good run,” Costantini said. “It really was.”

Jim Caliendo, a longtime physical education teacher at Brentwood High School, was appointed on May 14 to take over as the new athletic director.

Costantini, 60, came to Greenport in 1975 as a business educator. He went on to coach track and field, baseball, golf, basketball, and football, all at Greenport.

After becoming the athletic director, Costantini had an arrangement whereby he taught three classes in the morning and then was free to do his work as athletic director from 11 a.m. on.

“I never stopped,” Costantini said. “It was constant.”

An athletic director’s job can be one of the more difficult occupations in a school district, particularly in a small one like Greenport where the A.D. must deal with the logistics involved with running shared sports teams and small numbers of athletes, as well as issues just about all athletic directors must contend with, such as complaints from parents related to the teams their children play for. It’s not all fun and games, and it can be demanding.

COURTESY PHOTO | Jim Caliendo, a longtime physical education teacher at Brentwood High School and former coach, will take over as Greenport's new athletic director.

COURTESY PHOTO | Jim Caliendo, a longtime physical education teacher at Brentwood High School and former coach, will take over as Greenport’s new athletic director.

“I enjoyed almost all the parts of it,” Costantini said. “The biggest headache, if you want to call it that, was dealing with things that you had nothing to do [with]. But that comes with the job and you try to deal with it the best you can.”

Costantini said the key is to be consistent in making decisions and not play favorites.

Costantini is well aware of the visibility of athletics in a community. With that visibility comes criticism. A mathematics teacher toiling in the relative obscurity of the classroom, for example, isn’t as likely to be questioned or second-guessed as a football coach or a basketball coach whose teams play in front of hundreds and even thousands of spectators. “The difficulty comes with the simple fact that athletics are out there for everybody to see and everybody to critique,” said Costantini.

Another thing Costantini may not miss are rainy spring days, which can force postponements and wreak havoc with schedules. “Rainy days and Mondays, they always got you down,” he said.

So, what does Costantini enjoy most about the job he is leaving?

“The kids,” he said. “The kids were the best, they really were, and to really watch them progress from the start of the season to the end of it.”

Costantini said returning for this six-month stint “has been a real pleasure.” He said he never had a secretary before, but the athletic secretary, Joan Dinizio, has “been a godsend.”

In Costantini’s honor, the school district plans to name the Greenport High School baseball field Robert Costantini Field.

Costantini said he will continue working part-time in the pro shop at Island’s End Golf and Country Club as well as remain active by walking, bike riding and playing golf.

Caliendo, 57, said Costantini has been a help to him during this transition phase, which must be strange for him. He is retiring from a 34-year teaching career, 26 in Brentwood. Caliendo has also coached boys lacrosse, football and wrestling over the years at schools including Eastport/South Manor, Westhampton Beach, New Hyde Park, Newfield and St. Anthony’s. Caliendo also started the Eastport/South Manor boys lacrosse program, and was the Sharks varsity team’s first coach in 2004. This will be his first job as an athletic director.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Going from a school district that has some 16,000 students to a small school that includes students from kindergarten through 12th grade will be a change for Caliendo. His initial impressions of Greenport, he said, have been positive.

“I don’t want to get too excited, but every time I go there, the people are so nice, the kids are so nice,” he said. “I just hope it stays that way. It seems like a nice caring place. From what I’ve seen, there’s a lot of camaraderie among the kids.”

Does Caliendo have any planned changes in the works?

“I’m just getting a feel for everything,” he said during a phone interview from his home. “I think they do a great job out there. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel.”

Costantini, asked if he has any advice to offer Caliendo, said, “Just pay attention to detail and sometimes expect the unexpected because it’s coming.”

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