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Aniello named as interim athletic coordinator

CANTON, Sept. 27  – Canton High has named former Suffield High athletic director Fran Aniello as its interim athletic coordinator. He began work on Monday, Sept. 26 and will be on the job until a search committee to find a permanent athletic coordinator completes it assignment, probably in December.

Aniello isn’t a stranger to Canton. He was a long-time boys basketball and golf coach at fellow North Central Connecticut Conference member Suffield High and an athletic director for the Wildcats. He recently retired after 33 years of teaching and coaching at Suffield.

Aniello replaces John Bement, who was the athletic coordinator for a little over a year. The Canton Board of Education accepted the Bement’s resignation on August 30. Bement informed Canton Superintendent Kevin Case at the end of August that he would be resigning to take an out-of-state job. His final day was Saturday, Sept. 24.

Case, Gary Gula, the principal at Canton High and Joseph Scheideler, the principal at Canton Middle School (grades 7-8), comprised the search committee that selected Aniello.

A search committee will be formed to search for a permanent athletic coordinator, Case said. Coaches, students, teachers and administrators will be represented on that search committee, he said.

Case also said in the coming weeks that the school will survey its coaches, parents and athletes about the state of the athletic programs at the high school and middle school with the help of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC).

An online survey will be available in a few weeks. The CIAC will also conduct focus groups with select participants. At the end, the CIAC will produce a report detailing the strengths and weaknesses of the program, Case said.

“We’ve added programs in the past few years,” Case said. “Have we come to the point where we add more or do we keep what we have?”

In the past five years, Canton has added varsity football, girls lacrosse and boys lacrosse teams. A girls volleyball team is starting this fall as a junior varsity program. The football and girls lacrosse programs are funded by Friends of Canton Football.

However at the middle school level, all interscholastic programs were eliminated beginning this fall. Intramural athletic programs will be available for the students, Case said.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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