Rich Ferro steps down as Amherst Regional athletic director to return to teaching

  • Youth coach Rich Ferro, top left, stands with the Amherst Rangers Peewee Red following a tournament last year. Ferro has stepped down as athletic director for Amherst Regional High School. COURTESY AMHERST HOCKEY ASSOCIATION

  • Rich Ferro, Amherst Athletic Director, addresses members of the 1992 to 1993 Amherst girls basketball team that won a state championship that year Sept. 23, 2017 during the 2017 Amherst Regional Hall of Fame induction at the UMass Marriott. —SARAH CROSBY

Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 02, 2019

AMHERST — Rich Ferro has stepped down as athletic director for Amherst Regional High School, returning to his previous job as a science teacher at Amherst Regional Middle School.

Ferro, an Amherst native who has served as athletic director since 2012, said he is leaving the post to spend more time with his family as his children are getting older.

“The job is all consuming — you are on pretty much 24 hours a day,” Ferro said. “I would like to not be attached to my phone at all times and not have that pressure.”

Ferro said he had been thinking about moving on for over a year.

As a science teacher at the middle school before becoming athletic director, Ferro said, he had missed working directly with kids. In addition to working as a teacher, Ferro said he hopes he can coach varsity hockey again — a position he previously held from 2003 to 2009.

“I was hoping I would do more working with coaches on practice development and working with kids a lot more,” he said. “But there’s no time for that, unfortunately.”

Instead, he spends most of his day sitting in his office, he said, “on the phone with adults.”

Ferro said he felt burned out by the amount of work he had as athletic director. In a high school setting, he was responsible for every operation of the department across every sport. This included more than 500 student-athletes in the spring, he said.

He believes the high-school model of athletic departments needs to be re-evaluated. Implementing a model that mirrors college sports would ease responsibilities on any one person and instead disperse it across others, he said.

Amherst College’s model, he said, is a good example of what high school athletic departments should look like across the country. Though there is a head athletic director, there are also associate directors along with coaches, he said. Changing the way athletics are run in high school might help mitigate administrative turnover, he said.

Ferro said he was frustrated that the sheer workload of his former job had forced him to do an “OK job” with many different tasks.

“I want to do a really good job with less things,” Ferro said.

Ferro counts it an “honor” to have served as athletic director in his hometown. One of the accomplishments he’s most proud of was the reinvigoration of middle school sports. More than 150 middle schoolers participated in the program in the spring, he said.

“Getting kids active and not sitting around in front of screens is a big highlight,” Ferro said.

New facilities projects including the renovated gym and locker rooms are also accomplishments he was particularly proud of helming, he said.

“I enjoyed being in that role,” Ferro said of his time as athletic director. “And I think we have moved the ball forward in a lot of ways.”