Anthony Morello, the running backs coordinator the past two years, was named today as Greenwich’s new football coach. He was the preferred choice of John Marinelli, who stepped down last month after accepting a job as offensive analyst for the University of Arizona.
Morello, who had his interview on Friday, is a 2005 graduate of Greenwich and has been on the coaching staff since 2011. He was the freshman head coach from 2012-14 and had two undefeated seasons. When Marinelli became coach in 2015, Morello was promoted to varsity offensive line coach. Two years later he was named running game coordinator.
“It’s exciting,” Morello said. “I’ve had dreams of being a head coach. It’s at my alma mater and it’s an incredible feeling. It’s a very humbling experience because there have only been so many coaches that have coached at Greenwich over 50 years, so I am honored to be in that same category with so many great coaches that have come before me.”
Morello becomes just the fourth coach of the team in the past 47 years.
Morello takes over during a period of sweeping success for the Cardinals, who last season went 13-0, won the Class LL championship and were named the No. 1 team in the state, a year after they were unbeaten before losing to Darien in the final. Greenwich was 36-10 during Marinelli’s four seasons.
“A program’s success is never defined by wins and losses,” Morello said. “I’m a firm believer in having a positive attitude and a great work mentality and creating a winning culture through positivity and hard work and the belief in each other. And playing Cardinal football, knowing it is not about the players, it’s about the team, about the family. The town is so supportive of Greenwich football. It’s so much more than just a single season. It’s about the tradition at Greenwich.”
It says something about the culture Marinelli has built in the program that the entire coaching staff is returning, including defensive coordinator Bryan Hocter and offensive coordinator Dac Newton. The Greenwich players coming back have said over the past few weeks that they were hoping Morello would get the job to maintain continuity.
“I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by such great coaches and such great role models to these kids,” Morello said. “These guys work 12 months a year. They’re so invested in their kids, and the kids have bought in to what the coaches teach. I’m honored the coaches have agreed to stay and we are going into the season united. It is so good for the players to have that routine because a lot of times with a coaching change you don’t know what is going to happen.”
Prior to Greenwich, Morello worked on the Darien staff for one year. Morello was a captain and a two-time All-FCIAC and All-State offensive lineman at Greenwich. He went on to play at Union College.
Morello has varied interests. He is the executive director of the Off-Beat Players Theatre Company, a musical program designed for young adults with special needs. He is a member of the special education department for Greenwich Public Schools, as well as the summer camp executive director for Burning Tree Country Club.
Marinelli, who is getting married on Saturday and then leaving for Arizona on Monday, said he was elated this morning when he learned Morello would be his successor.
“This couldn’t have gone any other way,” Marinelli said. “Anthony is qualified, he’s energetic, he’s what the program needs. I’m so fortunate to have coached with him, he’s taught me a lot about football. This is only the beginning. The sky is the limit for his potential.”
The Cardinals will open training camp late next month. They begin defense of their title on Sept. 14 at home against Danbury.
“Through a lot of time, energy and hard work, Anthony has become quite an exceptional football coach,” Greenwich athletic director Gus Lindine said. “As a former Cardinal captain and player, he recognizes and values the strong tradition of our football program and understands its expectations. Coach Morello has a great connection with the players, school and community. He was extremely impressive throughout the selection process and we are proud to have him as our head coach.”