Wilton High School’s Managers Teach Us A Valuable Lesson


Bella Andjelkovic

Silva supports players on the field with a high five to keep their spirits up.

Being a “manager” of one of Wilton High School’s many sports can mean completely different things depending on the person. From a casual side activity, to basically the equivalent of a part-time job, each manager creates an experience wholly unique to them based on what they want to get out of it. However, despite these differences, their motivations stem from the same foundation: they don’t manage to gain attention or recognition; they manage because they love what they do.

Abby Morris

Abby Morris was the manager for the boy’s basketball team for three consecutive years. While Morris stepped down this season in order to participate in the student section amidst her fellow students, she still appreciated her time at the score table. 

“I did it with a friend so it was really fun,” Morris said. 

Abby Morris shows her Wilton pride.

It was this peer who initially inspired her to become a manager, in hopes of having a good time and getting to know the team better.

“It was pretty chill. I would take stats, help set up the camera… we also had a good relationship with the coach,” Morris said. 

Morris’ experience as manager was just what she wanted: a chance to “spend time with a friend” and learn a little more about basketball. While it was certainly challenging at first to navigate the rules of the game, Morris soon became familiar with her responsibilities, and as a result, was able to get closer with the players and coaching staff. All in all, Morris’ goals as manager were fulfilled, and she wouldn’t trade the time she had with her friend and the team for the world.

Dana Wax

Dana Wax has been the girls volleyball manager since her freshman year. Now a senior, she looks back on her time in the program, describing how after each season, she became more attached to her role on the team. 

“I found a lot of passion for being a manager in a way that I didn’t expect at the beginning,” Wax said. “But it is such a big deal to me now… it is my bread and butter.” 

Similar to Morris, Wax took up managing with a peer; however, her experience wasn’t nearly as laid back. 

Jim Liptack, former freshman volleyball coach and physics teacher, asked Wax to manage after she tried out for the team herself and wasn’t offered a spot. It was a way for her to remain connected to the game, and seeing that her mutual friend, Kate Belcher, another Wilton senior, was already managing, she accepted. 

Wax handled the book, where she was responsible for recording the rotations and keeping track of each play, while Belcher took care of the libero sheet. Wax states this is “much harder”considering it requires careful attention to one specific player in the back row, known as the libero, who can sub in without permission from a referee. 

Even though Wax has a supposedly easier job than Belcher, she still faces many challenges.

“The hardest part is when somebody screws up and you have to point it out, because nobody wants to look like they are doing something wrong, and then be called out by a high schooler for it,” Wax said.

It was even more difficult, according to her, considering she’s not the best at public speaking. Even though her role as manager was stressful and unrewarding at times, Wax really enjoyed herself.

“It’s a very unheralded job… but you do it because you love it more than anything else,” Wax said.

Dana Wax (right) and Kate Belcher (left) at Wilton volleyball’s senior night. (Bella Andjelkovic)

One of the highlights this past season included her interaction with a referee named Bert.  

“He started bringing us candy for the long games,” adding that even though she didn’t become a manager for the recognition, it still felt nice to be appreciated. Beyond Bert, the girls’ head volleyball coach this season, Stephen Brienza, also made a tremendous effort to constantly commend Wax and Belcher for their efforts, taking the time to highlight their work at the end of season banquet. 

Overall, Wax will miss her time as a manager at Wilton High School, and is thankful that she had the chance to stay connected to a game now near and dear to her heart.

Quin Silva

Manager Silva refers to his ipad for important plays and notes. (Bella Andjelkovic)

Perhaps out of all the managers Wilton High School has seen in its 50 years, current sophomore Quin Silva takes the position most seriously. 

“I manage all three levels of the football and basketball teams,” Silva said. 

With his Patriots windbreaker and renowned Wilton fanny pack on, Silva argues that although this is technically the definition of his job, this isn’t necessarily the best description of what he does.

“I don’t know if ‘manager’ would be the word. I get everything ready before games, I get the water, I make sure everyone has their equipment, that everyone’s helmet fits… that’s the manager aspect,” Silva said. “During the week, however, I do more of a coaching role than a manager role.”

This coaching role is certainly not easy. In fact, when asked to detail his responsibilities on the team, Silva simply chuckled, and said: “Oh boy. How much time do you have?” 

From running the defense during practice to being in attendance at all the coach meetings… Silva truly does it all. 

“The time commitment for most people would probably be very very overwhelming,” Silva said. 

Arriving at 8am in the morning and staying on the school grounds until almost 7:30pm every evening, he lives and breathes football. 

“The amount of hours you put in is so worth it when you beat someone like Ridgefield or New Canaan,” Silva said.

Silva loves his “job”more than anything. 

“I just love seeing the success I can bring to other kids,” Silva said. 

As someone who can’t physically play on the field, his goal is to help others become the best they can be with his instruction and advice. While he one day hopes to become a football coach rather than a manager, he currently looks up to Berj Najarian, Director of Football/Head Coach Administration, of his favorite team: the New England Patriots. Najarian is considered by many, including Silva, the Patriots’ “secret weapon.” 

However, according to the Boston Globe, most fans have never heard of him. Najarian himself purposefully likes to remain in the dark, refusing interviews and staying behind the scenes to avoid the attention, thus while his presence is lesser known. This doesn’t lessen the impact he has on the team though.

“He is very highly valued in the Patriot’s organization,” Silva said. 

He thinks everyone “should look up” to Najarian to see that “you don’t have to be a player or a coach to make a difference.”

Najarian is Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s “right-hand man,” just like Silva is arguably Wilton High School football coach EJ Dinunzio’s. 

Coach Dinunzio (bottom left) and Manager Silva (bottom right) pose for a picture with the rest of WHS’ football coaching staff.

Silva and Dinunzio have become quite the dynamic duo ever since Silva asked to help with the football season his freshman year. 

Since Silva’s brother had played for Dinunzio for a few years already, and Dinunzio knew Silva from the youth leagues, he eagerly took him under his wing.

“I know he must stay close to the program,” Dinunzio said. “Our jobs would be a lot more difficult if he wasn’t there.”

Dinunzio explains how just moments before, he was with Silva in the WHS Zeoli Fieldhouse organizing jerseys and equipment, and if he had done it himself, it would have been monumental.

“I don’t know how much more he can do,” Dinunzio said. “He’s one of the first ones on the field, one of the last ones to leave,” but the work always gets done, and it gets done well.”

According to Dinunzio, Silva also contributes greatly to the unity of the team. 

“Quin brings guys together… Kids love him, he’s just fantastic,”Dinunzio said. 

Now, even though the football season is over, the two are still hard at work.

“We stay in contact probably two or three times a week, just to chat and touch base,” Dinunzio said. 

Football manager Quin Silva gives instructions to players from the sideline. (Bella Andjelkovic)

Football really is a 52-week sport, and while Silva is now getting busier with managing the WHS boys basketball program, he recognizes how important his role is in the off season.

“Football never stops, if you want to compete with the best teams, you got to prepare just like them,” Silva said.

Silva didn’t take on this role for recognition or the spotlight, but he is grateful when people approach him in the halls and ask if he makes the plays, or when players come to him for support.

“I do appreciate everyone who compliments what I do,” Silva said. “I’m just here to win a state championship… that’s when I’ll be appreciated.”

Ultimately, Coach Dinunzio sums up Silva perfectly, “He’s more than just a manager,” Dinunzio said.

Final Word

While so many “high school managers” around the country have quite “under-the-radar” roles, this doesn’t stop them from making a difference (Penobscot Bay Pilot). Even students at Stamford High School, just about 30 minutes away from Wilton, mention that “team managers do a lot more than [many] probably think” (The Round Table), which certainly holds true for Morris, Wax, and Silva. 

It’s definitely important to applaud Wilton High School’s managers for their work, but it’s equally as important to learn from them. 

It’s not about the attention, recognition, or fame; it’s about doing what you love.