As Deerfield students watch their peers compete this term, they may notice unfamiliar coaches in the dugout, on the pool deck or on the sidelines.
A former member of Princeton University’s heavyweight team, and later a Princeton rowing coach, Spencer Washburn is a college advisor and head crew coach. Mr. Washburn has coached four crews to silver medals and one team to a championship at the Eastern Sprints.
Mr. Washburn loves the fact that crew rewards hard work. He noted, “There are no shortcuts in rowing—there’s a lot of technical skill—but ultimately it comes down to a lot of toughness, and it comes down to who wants it more. If you put in work and go further and further, you tend to come out on top.”
Mr. Washburn’s personal goals for this season are to bring excitement and energy to practice every day. He acknowledged that crew requires a lot of work, and grueling, demanding sessions, so he wants to help the team find enjoyment in the work and develop a passion for the sport.
“With any team I’ve coached, and any boat I’ve coached,” he said, “you want to win a championship. It is important to me that at the end of the season, the guys can say: (A) I got better, and (B) I learned how to go hard and push myself.”
Math teacher and varsity tennis coach William Speer is excited for the spring sports season as well. Mr. Speer played varsity tennis at his old high school; and while he did not play at Williams, he has remained passionate about the sport.
“For me, [tennis] is synonymous with spring coming,” Mr. Speer said. “I look forward to finally heading down to the courts and playing in shorts.”
When asked what his goals for the season were, Mr. Speer responded, “You can always say win New Englands and win as many matches as possible, but, more importantly, I want everybody to play their best and have a good time doing it. Everything else will flow from having a good time and enjoying being out there.”
A new college advisor, Sarah Tarrant Madden is the girls varsity water polo assistant coach. In addition, Ms. Madden—who played water polo throughout her time at both Exeter and Wesleyan— coached boys JV water polo this past fall.
Ms. Madden loves water polo because “it’s a team sport, so there has to be communication, and you have to be strong and smart.”
This season she hopes to see all the girls on her team play as well as possible. “We have lots of girls playing for the first time,” she said. “I hope that they can have fun, and that the experienced players on the team enjoy mentoring the newer players. So far it’s going very well!”
Ryan Tatreau, the new varsity baseball head coach, has assisted the program for five years. Although he doesn’t teach at Deerfield, he still hopes to “provide a program for the varsity and JV that will facilitate baseball development at Deerfield Academy.”
Mr. Tatreau has been around baseball from a very young age. After Little League and high school baseball in Greenfield, he pitched at Franklin Pierce and Springfield College.
Mr. Tatreau enjoys the game of baseball because “in baseball you have to watch the whole game to pick up the small nuances, and appreciate it.” He continued, “You are always working on your skills and abilities to win games, and as a coach you are always trying to teach players to prepare for different situations, so I love the different situations that a baseball game presents.”
Mr. Tatreau’s goal for the season is to win the league championship. “Winning the championship starts with building team chemistry,” he said. “I don’t work here, so I don’t have the ability to get here on a regular basis outside of the practice times, but [the players] have done a good job of facilitating a team identity throughout the fall and winter months. Success for this team will be measured by how we take feeback when we make mistakes, and how we adjust and eradicate those mistakes quickly.”
In addition to the new coaches above, Gene Thagard ‘15 is helping mentor new members of the pole vault team. Spanish teacher Cheri Karbon coached pole-vaulting last year, but since she’s on sabbatical, Thagard has stepped up to help English Chair and head coach Michael Schloat.
Thagard, as part of the team, hopes to win New Englands this spring. Last year, he placed fourth, but this year he’s setting his sights higher: “I want to win this year. But more importantly, I want to see everyone improve, and see a significant increase in their PRs. It doesn’t matter how they place, but I want to see my teammates getting better, and I hope I can play a role in their improvement.”
Thagard echoed a sentiment that was common to all the new coaches this year: he wants to see his teammates improving throughout the season and enjoying playing their chosen sport.