Archambault Excited to Take Over as Yellowjackets’ Girls’ Basketball Coach – - Techy Hunters


Sunday, July 18, 2021

Archambault Excited to Take Over as Yellowjackets’ Girls’ Basketball Coach –

By By Dan Fappiano • 07/18/2021 05:44 p.m. EST

After spending a good portion of his life coaching basketball in town, Mike Archambault was recently named the new head coach of East Haven High School varsity girls’ basketball team. As he prepares for his first season with the Yellowjackets, Archambault said there is no other place where he would rather be coaching hoops than in his hometown.

“This is something I’ve wanted since I started coaching. I knew that the only place I wanted to coach was East Haven,” said Archambault. “I’ve been involved in the rec league and have been a board member since I was 18. I’ve seen most of these kids play in clinics at five years old. This was the only position I would take. I wanted to stay in East Haven. I might not have varsity experience, but I know these girls.”

Archambault takes over for Anthony Russell, who stepped down as the Easties’ head coach at the end of the 2020-’21 season following an excellent 13-year run at the helm. For the past six years, Archambault has been the head girls’ basketball coach at Joseph Melillo Middle School (JMMS). He has also served as the Yellowjackets’ summer and fall league head coach. Archambault said that he and Russell have a strong connection, and that connection made him feel confident in pursuing the role as head coach of the varsity squad.

“We wanted the continuity from middle school to high school, so they could have an easier transition,” Archambault said. “Anthony and I have known each other our whole lives. He grew up playing basketball with my brother. I told him I was really interested in the position. He has been so supportive throughout the entire process. He has been a great mentor to me.”

Before he was coaching, Archambault grew up competing in the Sal Tinari Biddy Basketball League. He played through middle school and then joined the East Haven boys’ basketball team as a freshman. In his senior season, Archambault was named a captain. Archambault, who graduated in 1999, said that his experience of playing basketball for the Yellowjackets helped him get ready for when he transitioned into a coaching role.

“Coaching is a whole new perspective compared to playing. As a player, you have so many different experiences. I was running through the system you ran in high school and bringing that down to the youth level and hopefully getting those players ready,” Archambault said. “It’s a different ballgame, but you understand what the kids are going through. You’ve experienced that.”

Archambault took on his first head coaching job with the East Haven All-Star travel team when he was 18. He spent numerous years coaching at the recreational and travel levels, sometimes coaching as many as five teams at a time. Archambault has served as the head coach of JMMS girls’ basketball for the past six seasons. He is also in his third year as the cross country coach and has been an assistant coach for the school’s baseball team since 2007.

When he was coaching in the rec league, Archambault learned about the importance of fundamentals when it comes to teaching the game. As he started coaching middle school and travel hoops, Archambault was able to learn from other coaches and adapt their styles of play into his game-plan.

“Every coach has to realize that you’re constantly learning, no matter what role you’re in. I’ve had a bunch of assistant coaches and have been an assistant coach. I’ve picked up a little bit from everybody,” said Archambault. “With travel, I met a lot of people from different towns. You get to talk basketball, and I can say that’s where some of my offense and defense comes from.”

By coaching at various levels in East Haven throughout his career, Archambault has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of athletes who have suited up for the Yellowjackets, including some of the team’s current players. When the varsity job opened up, several of those players reached out to Archambault and encouraged him to apply.

“That’s what made the transition so easy. I had the support from a lot of the players,” Archambault said. “It was nice to see these girls that I have coached reach out to me and make sure that I put in an application. They wanted me to come there. I’ve seen them develop, and I know their skillsets. I know their role on the team. If I went to another town, I’d be starting from scratch. It will be a much easier transition.”

As he takes on his first head coaching role of a varsity squad, Archambault is looking for East Haven to shine on the defensive end of the court. Archambault wants to see a strong defensive effort on every possession, because he knows that effort will turn into points on the scoreboard. Archambault knows that the Easties need to play as a cohesive team on both ends of the floor in order to succeed.

“One of my biggest things is defense. Defense is going to be what triggers our offense. There’s no breaks on defense. My big pet peeve is when players take plays off on defense and save it for offense,” Archambault said. “We have to work, but the biggest thing is realizing you’re a part of a team. There’s no selfish play. You are part of a bigger system. For us to be successful, everyone has to buy into that.”

In Russell’s 13-year tenure as head coach, East Haven won a Class M state championship, reached the SCC Tournament final three years in a row, and won 181 total games. Now as the Yellowjackets’ new head coach, Archambault’s goal is to make sure that the Easties carry on the legacy that was built by his predecessor.

“The shoes that Anthony left to fill are huge. The good part is that that’s the mentality that our players have. They know what the expectation is,” said Archambault. “The expectation isn’t to just get eight wins and make the State Tournament. Our goal every year is to make a run at the division title and make a run at states. That’s the mentality that Anthony set. Our hope is that we can continue this winning tradition.”

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