Franklin athletic director Tom Angelo announced that former Weymouth High assistant Anthony Sarno has been hired as the new boys hockey coach. Sarno will take over from Chris Spillane, who stepped down in April after two successful decades with the program that included a state championship and a Super 8 berth.
“I first heard about the opening and I was kind of shocked,” Sarno explained in a phone call on Wednesday. “Chris Spillane has been a legend there and to have the opportunity to even get an interview for the job is an honor. Ever since I was a kid and growing up and coaching at Weymouth the last five years you get to know a lot of different teams and Franklin High has always had a fantastic program.”
He added, “After meeting Tom Angelo and having the opportunity to interview for the job, it just felt right. It felt like a good fit.”
Sarno was with the Weymouth program for the past five years. He was the JV coach and the associate varsity coach. In 2017 he took over the program when head coach Patrick Kennedy was called up to active duty. Sarno held the head coaching job for the remainder of the 2017 season and stepped back to allow Kennedy to regain the position when he returned.
He has nearly 30 years of coaching at various levels, including with the Boston Junior Terriers, but Sarno knows that he is stepping into a tough position replacing a legend. Spillane, who was also a standout player at Franklin, made the playoffs each season he was on the bench and had more than 300 career victories. The Panthers have won eight straight league titles and reached the Div. 1 South final last season.
“I’m very excited,” Sarno said. “I know I have huge shoes to fill and Chris was a fantastic human being as well as coach and I can’t be Chris, I have to be me. I know there’s going to be a lot of growing pains that go with it.”
The next step for Sarno, who played at Medford High and at Suffolk University, will be to introduce himself to the staff and administration at Franklin and then to meet the players.
“I have to earn their trust just as much as they have to earn mine,” he said. “A big part of it is making myself available and really getting to know all the players, their backgrounds, and being able to introduce myself in a way that they’d be happy to play and to play hard.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know everybody and to participate in some Panther pride.”
In an announcement to local media, Angelo said, “Coach Sarno’s vision for taking the program forward is inspiring. His passion for the game, positive personality and coaching knowledge will allow him to hit the ground running. We look forward to many years of continued excellence in the hockey program under Coach Sarno’s leadership.”