Wendy Haft Takes Over as Interim Athletic Director at RCDS

For the first time since 1993, Rye Country Day athletics will be without the guidance of Frank Antonelli. The former athletic director oversaw many championship seasons in his time at the school, and was a fixture at sporting events. Antonelli retired to Vermont with his wife, Rye Country Day math teacher Susan Antonelli, at the end of the 2009-10 school year.

There should be no doubt about the present and future of the athletic department, however, as Wendy Haft steps into the role of interim AD. Haft has spent her last 12 years at Rye Country Day, serving as assistant and then associate athletic director. She is a 1988 graduate of Ithaca College, and later went back to the school for her Master’s in physical education and a minor in sports psychology. Haft has also taught physical education at RCDS for the past 12 years.

“It’s wonderful to teach a student in Kindergarten how to stop when the whistle blows and then, nine years later, have that same student hustling to be a varsity starting athlete,” said Haft. “There are many current upper school student-athletes I remember being in my Kindergarten classes. Besides feeling very mature, I am proud of the citizens they have become and their interest in being the best athletes they can be.”

Although Haft has coached every sport from basketball to tennis, she has exclusively focused on softball in recent years. In 2009, she led the Wildcats to a 12-3 record and a Fairchester Athletic Association championship.

“We are hoping to create more awareness of our sporting events and how much the players value fan support,” said Haft. “I believe when the players play and practice with pride, their peers and the faculty will take the time to be supportive and create more school spirit.”

Despite the “interim” tag, Haft has big plans for the athletic program this year. She noted there will be events throughout the year to attract the school community to the athletic arena, and believes support will only strengthen.

“My goal is to allow the coaches and players to have their best seasons possible,” she said. “Every year is different and there are many young athletes who will be getting tremendous experience playing. This grows greatness for the future. So, although teams may be young, it’s all part of the process of building a strong program for the future.”

— Andrew Farber


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