Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

Gullette’s Grateful to Give Back to Guilford


Curtis Gullette takes over as head coach of the Guilford boys’ soccer team this year. Curtis, a Madison resident, grew up in Guilford and was a four-year varsity starter for the Indians. Photo courtesy of Curtis Gullette

Curtis Gullette takes over as head coach of the Guilford boys’ soccer team this year. Curtis, a Madison resident, grew up in Guilford and was a four-year varsity starter for the Indians. (Photo courtesy of Curtis Gullette )

Curtis Gullette is stepping into the head coach position for the Guilford boys’ soccer team this fall. Curtis, who lives in Madison, had served as an assistant coach for seven years before becoming the Indians’ interim head coach last season. Curtis will also be teaching in the math department at Guilford High School.

As an alum of Guilford boys’ soccer, Curtis knows all about the program’s legacy. The Indians have a dozen state titles to their name, although it’s been nearly two decades they last won one. Curtis is hoping to bring the banner back to Guilford, while helping his student-athletes grow as young adults.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to build off the traditions and the storied history of Guilford soccer. The school has 12 championships, but it’s been quite a few years since we’ve had a title,” says Curtis. “That rich history of quality soccer is something I’m proud to be a part of and put my stamp on. I want to try to bring some fresh ideas to help these young soccer players become young men and contributors to the community.”

Curtis was a four-year varsity starter for the Indians who led the team as a captain in his senior season. After graduating in 2008, Curtis studied at Bryant University, where he earned a degree in applied math and statistics in 2012. Then, just 10 days after graduating from Bryant, Curtis headed to UConn to get his master’s in curriculum and instruction, completing four semesters in a single year. During that time, Curtis was a student-teacher at Old Saybrook High School. He went on to get a teaching job at Old Saybrook and was also head coach of the Rams’ golf squad.

So, while starting a new head coaching position in tandem with a teaching position may seem daunting, Curtis is used to being busy.

“I started teaching at Old Saybrook in 2013. I did four semesters at UConn in one year,” Curtis says. “We did our student-teaching in the fall, and a student internship in the spring all while still in school. I did some substitute teaching and all that. It was quite the year. Then I got a teaching job at Old Saybrook.”

Curtis credits his wife and fellow 2008 Guilford graduate Lauren Gullette for helping him stay grounded when things get hectic.

“My wife is the best support system I can have. My days will be pretty long the next couple of months,” says Curtis. “By the time I finish classes, have practice, and get home and eat dinner, the day will pretty much be done, but my wife is pretty spectacular. Having her around will make it a lot easier. She’s a teacher at Adams Middle School herself, and she’s going back for a degree, as well. We’ll be busy, but we’ve got each other, and that’s what matters.”

As he takes on his head coaching role, Curtis believes that he has a leg up because of his previous experience as an assistant. Curtis also learned a lot during his stint as the Indians’ interim head coach in the 2018 campaign.

“I think I got a crash course at the end of last year. We had nine games left, and I feel like I started to implement the attitudes I want to see and the way I want them thinking,” says Curtis. “We graduated quite a solid senior class. We have a lot of potential this year. There are kids that I have seen grow so much already. I have to help make this team the best it can be.”

Guilford had a solid year while adjusting to a midseason coaching change last fall. The Indians finished with an overall record of 9-7-3, while qualifying for both the SCC Tournament and the Class L State Tournament.

“We had nine wins, a few ties, and we got to states. We had a great first-round game against Torrington at home. Then we went to the No. 2 seed Weston and had them tied 0-0 through overtime. We had our chances. We hit the post a couple of times. Their goalie made some great saves, but we unfortunately lost in [penalty kicks],” Curtis says. “We’ve got some really solid young men on the team both physically and in terms of soccer skills. They have a great soccer mentality and are just strong-minded people. We really rallied together last year. I’m hoping to carry that into next year.”

Curtis feels grateful to be taking the reins in a program that helped him become the person he is today. Now, Curtis wants to help Guilford’s student-athletes create the same kind of memories that he still holds dear to his heart.

“The friends that I played with growing up, we still share stories. It’s one of the best times in your life playing sports in high school and striving for a goal as a team. That’s an attitude that I want to bring to the team and in my teaching position,” says Curtis. “It’s a great chance for me to give back to the town. It’s a full-circle thing in my career in this point. It’s challenging, but exciting.”

Chris Negrini is the Assistant Sports Editor for Zip06. Email Chris at c.negrini@shorepublishing.com.

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