Story by Jon Dinan
LAKE HUNTINGTON Dan Parisi, a 33-year-old Monroe native, is a social studies teacher and a first-year varsity volleyball coach at Sullivan West High School.
It’s difficult to assume from his exterior that the clean-cut and mild-mannered teacher/coach jammed for a rock band or pounded for tough yardage as a high school fullback. But Parisi’s background includes both.
“Coaching, teaching and music all rely heavily on dynamics,” said Parisi. Members must be aware of their role, and in order to be successful everyone has to appreciate and respect each other so the team can perform together effectively,” said Parisi.
As a musician, Parisi was the lead singer and founding member of a pop-punk band called Next II Nothing, which enjoyed a fair amount of success in the early 2000’s.
They signed a recording contract with Canadian-based Hourglass Records, toured much of the United States and Canada, and landed sponsorships with some major companies such as Yoo-Hoo and Billabong. Their song "Dedicated" was even featured on the soundtrack of a Playstation 2 game called Salt Lake City Winter Olymipics 2002.
After disbanding in 2006, three members of Next II Nothing went on to form a cover band called “Good ‘n Loaded.” The party rock band earned a fair share of noteriety throughout the Hudson Valley, but Parisi would have to leave the band last year after his first child, a daughter, was born.
As much as Parisi likes to carry a beat, he grew up carrying a football and a baton, emmulating his favorite athlete Bo Jackson who doubled as a football and track star for Auburn University. Parisi played fullback for Monroe-Woodbury High School while also running track for the Crusaders.
Parisi wanted to continue his involvement in sports after college, so he volunteered as an assistant coach for his brother in the Cornwall Youth Football League.
Parisi also coached modified football and track at Washingtonville High School in Orange County where he landed a teaching job in 2002. Parisi continued coaching modified track, football and baseball when he began teaching at Sullivan West.
Now Parisi is the varsity volleyball coach serving as the replacement for last season’s coach Cliff Kelly who stepped down due to personal reasons. Though he didn’t have any previous experience coaching volleyball, Sullivan West athletic director Dave Franskeviz thought Parisi was the right guy for the job.
“I wanted someone energentic and excited about the position,” said Franskevicz. “When he learned it was available, he spoke right up. And so far he’s doing a fine job.”
Though the team’s record stands at 1-4, Parisi is optimistic and encouraged by what he sees. And he welcomes the challenge.
“I love plotting and planning strategies,” said Parisi, who notes that the team should improve as they play some of its divisional foes the seocnd time around. “As I am learning more about the sport of volleyball, I am really having some fun with it.”
Parisi has been teaching since graduating SUNY New Paltz in 2002, earning a Bachelor's degree in secondary education (social studies) . He went on to earn his Master's degree from the New York Institute of Technology. Today Parisi implements all of his passions in his busy daily life, which now includes being a dad. After his day as a 10th and 11th grade social studies teacher is over, he coaches volleyball. Then it’s off to The Janice Center in Jeffersonville where, for the past five years, he has been teaching guitar lessons.
“I am really happy where I am right now, and I consider myself very fortunate,” he said.