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The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

Minnella says goodbye to impressive run as athletic director

Photo by Brooke Cheifetz
Athletic Director Anthony Minnella makes trips around the West Essex campus to support sports activities.

Cruising around in his golf cart, walkie-talkie in hand, all West Essex athletes have seen Athletic Director Anthony Minnella around campus making sure that every program is running smoothly. After 37 years of teaching, winning state championships and taking titles, Minnella decided it was the right time to retire.

Minnella grew up in Maplewood and then later moved to Little Falls. His love for sports began at an early age, and he continued playing all his life. Throughout his school years, Minnella participated in both football and baseball, but his primary focus remained on wrestling. Despite not knowing it at the time, this early experience in athletics would later shape Minnella’s career and his life.

Minnella entered Montclair State University as a biochemistry major but switched to education after realizing he wanted to pursue a career in education and athletics. His career began at his alma mater, Passaic Valley Regional High School, teaching industrial arts while coaching football and wrestling. Minnella then moved to West Essex, where he spent 24 years teaching, 10 years of which in industrial arts and 14 years in special education. In 2015, he became the Athletic Director/Supervisor of Health and Physical Education at WEHS. Minnella always knew he wanted to be in administration for athletics due to his love and passion for sports.

“I knew that the direction I wanted to go in administration was going to be athletics because athletics were a big part of my life forever,” Minnella said. “I coached for 25 years and I knew that was a job that I was built for.”

Winning has been a consistent part of Minnella’s life at West Essex and Passaic Valley. Under his tenure as athletic director, West Essex has won awards like the Tournament of Champions Cup in field hockey, the ShopRite Cup and a state championship for football in 2017. He has also received numerous coaching honors including Region Coach of the Year, Conference Coach of the Year, County Coach of the Year and District Coach of the Year. All of Minnella’s accolades have come from hard work, which he has learned leads to winning.

“Winning is a lot of fun,” Minnella said.

West Essex is a huge part of Minnella’s family life as well. His wife, Jill Cosse, is a highly acclaimed field hockey coach. Two of his daughters, Adelaide and Evangeline, are student-athletes here. Minnella is grateful that his job allows him to spend time watching the people he loves to play sports while also doing the job he loves.

“I’m fortunate that I was able to stay here and be an athletic director where we live in town,” Minnella said. “And some teachers say I can never teach where my kids go, but, for me, I think it’s been great. It’s wonderful because I get to see them play. If I was an athletic director somewhere else I’d never get to a game so in that respect, it’s awesome.”

Even though Minnella enjoys working in administration, his favorite part of his job is when he gets to watch sports happening around the school. Whether in the gym or on a field, Minnella appreciates every moment he gets watching the school athletics in action.

“I can get out of here and get out on either a field or in a gym or whatever and I’m watching sports,” Minnella said. “That’s absolutely the best part of the job.”

After retiring, Minnella plans to keep his love a busy schedule going. He looks forward to playing golf, potentially returning to his electrical background and continuing to run lacrosse tournaments in the summer. Over his 33 years at West Essex, Minnella realizes how important athletics are to students and is proud of the influence he has been able to have on the program throughout his career.

“Those life lessons that you get through athletics that you can’t get anywhere else are extremely, extremely valuable,” Minnella said. “I’m proud that I was able to keep that going and hopefully enhance it. It keeps our program successful and gives the kids the resources that they need to be successful.”

Behind the Byline
Justin Misher
Justin Misher, Sports Editor
Justin Misher is a 2023-2024 Sports Section Editor for the Wessex Wire. He enjoys watching the Knicks, Giants and Mets, hanging out with friends and going down the shore. His favorite food is steak and his favorite TV show is Friends.
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