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Sports Person of the Week
Dailey’s Loving Life on Old Saybrook’s Links
Brian Dailey, a Chester resident who teaches in Westbrook, has thoroughly enjoyed his first season as head coach of a growing Old Saybrook golf team. (Photo courtesy of Brian Dailey)
Brian Dailey knew that he had to pounce on the opportunity to become the head coach of the Old Saybrook boys’ golf team when he had the chance. Brian sure is glad that he made that decision as he reaches the final fairway of his debut campaign with the Rams.
After coaching at Coginchaug for two years, Brian decided to apply for the head-coaching gig at Old Saybrook largely because of its proximity to his job in Westbrook. It was a difficult decision, but one that has ultimately paid dividends for Brian, a Chester resident.
“I really did not have any intentions of leaving that position [at Coginchaug]. I had a great group of kids, and the program had tremendous support from Lyman Orchards Golf Course,” Brian says. “In my time there, I became close with the former head coach of Old Saybrook and, throughout my conversations with him, I learned he was leaving Saybrook to take a teaching job in another district. At that point, I decided to apply to coach golf in Saybrook.”
Brian has been teaching at Westbrook High School for the past 16 years. One of Ryan’s goals as the head coach of Rams’ golf squad is to integrate the program into a co-op like the Old Saybrook-Westbrook (OS-W) football team.
“Obviously, Westbrook and Old Saybrook already have a close connection with the OS-W football co-op. There are a lot of similarities between the two schools, and transitioning to Old Saybrook High School was an easy process,” says Brian, who went to Fitch High School. “The players welcomed me immediately, and Athletic Director Brendan Saunders has been a huge support in my first season, as well. I would be thrilled to have some Westbrook students be able to play golf, as well.”
Saunders has high praise for what Brian has accomplished in his first year as the Rams’ head coach. Old Saybrook’s Athletic Director says that Brian makes sure that every one of his golfers gets the attention and the advice they need in order to improve their skills on the course.
“Coach Dailey has done great things with Old Saybrook’s golf team this year. He gives all of his players—from the team’s No. 1 down to the athlete who just picked up a club for the first time—the same amount of coaching and positive reinforcement,” Saunders says. “His knowledge of the game and the detailed rules of golf have been passed on to his players throughout the season. He is extremely passionate about golf and teaching the game.”
Brian has a deep-rooted passion for golf.
“My favorite aspect about golf is that you have almost full control of your experience. Sometimes the ball bounces the wrong way, but largely it is up to you navigate your way around the course,” says Brian. “This lends itself to a lot of teaching and learning opportunities every day.
“I really try to focus on this with my players,” he continues. “Students need to learn how to evaluate situations, make informed decisions, and accept the results. Success depends a lot on genuine self-reflection, managing emotions, and positive thinking.”
One of the most-important coaching philosophies that Brian has brought to Old Saybrook from Coginchaug is for his players to compete with integrity on the links. Brian believes that integrity is one of the most critical aspects in the sport of golf.
“Ultimately, you are responsible for your own decision-making, performance, and your reaction to all of that,” Brian says. “The game requires integrity as players are required to keep their own score and penalize themselves. More should be said about high school student-athletes that consistently are maintaining their integrity, despite the fact that nobody is around to even see them do that.”
Brian’s expectations at Old Saybrook go beyond how the Rams are performing in the win-loss column. Brian’s main goal as Old Saybrook’s head coach is to see his players flourish both on and off the golf course.
“I believe there is a lot more to high school sports than wins and losses. That said, this is a varsity program, and I expect my players to approach it as such,” says Brian. “I want the team to be as competitive as we can be at all times, and I want my players to understand that that takes work.
“Fortunately, we have a great place to practice every day. Fenwick has been very supportive and helpful and gives our players a tremendous opportunity to play and practice each day,” he says.
Brian appreciates the efforts of senior captains Garrett Brady and Joe Sinibaldo and the way that they’ve led the team this season. Brian also feels optimistic about the fact that Old Saybrook has a solid core of young players who are forming a nice foundation for the Rams going forward.
“This season has been a lot of fun, and I certainly will miss both senior captains Garrett Brady and Joe Sinibaldo,” Brian says. “Moving forward, however, I am very excited about our three freshmen from this season, and I expect them to be a solid core to build around next season.”