South Tahoe High School’s athletic department will have a new face this year.
Tony Sunzeri, a graduate of STHS, was named the new athletic director at the school after Doug Russell stepped down earlier this year.
“I’ve been preparing for this job as athletic director since I was 5 years old. That’s when I first became a sports fan, I went to my first Major League Baseball game,” Sunzeri said.
Sunzeri was born at Barton Hospital and has lived in South Lake Tahoe his whole life only leaving to attend California State university, San Diego where he studied communications and film. He recently earned his teaching credentials and, along with his athletic director duties, Sunzeri will teach a physical education class and a film class— called a “tada” seminar.
“We’re just excited to have him join the team,” said Vice Principal Pat Harnett. “We think he’ll help our kids get a great athletic experience to compliment their academic studies.”
While attending STHS, Sunzeri was a three-sport athlete playing on the football, baseball and hockey teams. While in middle school, he participated on the wrestling and cross country teams. He continues to be active outside by skiing and hiking with his wife and two children.
“You’ll see me with Ryan, my 3-year-old daughter, at a lot of the home games. She’ll be helping me lugging around water and things like that,” Sunzeri said.
He’ll also coach the junior varsity football team this season as the defensive coordinator and is looking forward to the challenge of the different responsibilities.
“I loved my time (at STHS) and it’s my chance now to be able to give back to that school and invest in a lot of the student athletes that are coming up, and they’re amazing.,” Sunzeri said. “I’ve also inherited some amazing support around me, all the different people in administration are incredible people and I’m going to learn a lot from them and it’s such a great partnership. I couldn’t have stepped into a better role.”
Sunzeri has already given back to the school by coaching different teams including the junior varsity and varsity football and junior varsity baseball.
Athletic directors typically coordinate fields, officials, team transportation and budgeting, but Sunzeri says that’s only a portion of what the job entails. He wants to help coach and motivate the head coaches on all the different levels.
“I’m so enthusiastic, I have a lot of energy and it’s something that’s going to keep me going through this whole process because it’s not going to be the easiest of jobs, but I love doing it, so it’s going to be as if I’m not working at all,” Sunzeri said.
There are no plans for any major changes in the department, he just hopes to carry on the rich tradition of the South Tahoe athletic directors that he idolized growing up and build on the improvements that have been made to the school since 2011, including all the new athletic facilities.
“It’s all going to be copacetic, just chugging along the way it has been in the past,” Sunzeri said. “I’m really excited about living up to the expectations of being a good athletic director for the athletic programs at South Tahoe High School and the community.”