Photo by Sandy Canetti – UltiPhotos.com
New York has signed Anthony Nuñez as head coach for the upcoming 2014 season.
Nuñez replaces Daniel Quaranta, who stepped down as head coach of the team two weeks ago. As an assistant coach under Quaranta last year, Nuñez helped lead the Rumble to a third-place finish in the Eastern Conference, narrowly missing the playoffs.
“I [want to] thank DQ for being the head coach last year…it won’t be easy to replace his ability to motivate the players and manage the game,” Nuñez said, “but I will do my best to take what he taught me last year and use it to help the team to succeed.”
Lead by General Manager Michelle Kondracki, the Rumble leadership developed a winning approach to professional Ultimate that brought them only a few points away from the playoffs.
“Nuñez comes with a strong coaching background and is one of the most dedicated people I know,” said Kondracki. “While spending a year under Coach Q, he gained valuable experience and earned the trust of the players and staff. I look forward to seeing Nuñez’s vision for the team this year and have no doubt that he will lead the Rumble in the right direction.”
Nuñez began his Ultimate career playing at the sport’s birthplace, Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey. Returning to coach the team as a freshman at William Paterson University, Nuñez led the squad to 11 straight State Championships and one USA Ultimate Championship in 2008.
Since 2007, Nuñez has coached youth players in the Delaware Valley Youth League (DEVYL), leading the team to a first-place finish at the 2010 Youth Club Championships. He has also coached the New Jersey coed club team, Blueprint, as well as the Rutgers men’s Ultimate team, Machine.
Though the Rumble enjoyed a relatively successful first season last year, Nuñez is looking to improve from last year’s third-place finish by making strategic player signings in the offseason.
“My goal this year is to improve on the depth of our O-line handlers and deepen our defensive cutters,” Nuñez said. “While I think our team was very strong last year, these two areas will make a big difference to us making the playoffs or not. I am not looking to change much from last year [but rather] improve on what we have.”
Having already signed almost a third of the 25-man roster, including fresh faces Sean Murray, Isaac Saul, and Dave Vuckovich, Nuñez will be seeking a specific type of player at the 2014 Rumble Combine on February 22 and March 1.
“You have to have a combination of grit and heart to play on the Rumble, and that is exactly the type of player I am hoping to find in the upcoming combine,” said Nuñez. “We have a very talented list of athletes already signed up and I cannot wait to see them show off their abilities and prove they have the desire to compete against the best.”
Coach Nuñez and the Rumble will kick off the season with the first game on April 12 against the Whitecaps in Boston, followed by their home opener against Philadelphia Spinners on April 19.