The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Josh Rilla Takes the Helm as Director of Squash

Credit: Williston Flickr

Starting this winter, Williston Squash has a new leader.

Josh Rilla, an English teacher and Boys Varsity Tennis and Squash coach, will step up to the position of Director of Squash starting Trimester 2. In this expanded role, Rilla will oversee the entire WIlliston Squash program, and split practices between the boys and girls teams each week. He will also coach each team at home matches. All of this is in hopes to further grow the program into a top New England Squash program in the coming years.

Rilla started at Williston 2021 and has been Head Boys Varsity Tennis and Squash since. Prior to that, Rilla coached at Beaver Country Day School, in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Rilla was a high school racquet sport standout and went on to be a four year letterwinner in squash and tennis at Amherst College. He graduated from Amherst in 2006.

Rilla said the main two goals of this switch are too grow the talent pipeline, as well as to train new coaches.

“The amazing strength of the program is how we can still compete at a high level with homegrown talent,” he said. “Luke Ballard is a great example of this, a player who didn’t touch a racquet until attending Williston. [Luke graduated from Williston in 2023, and now attends Trinity College]. He rose to #1 on the team with NEPSAC honors through our pipeline. As Director, I can implement long-term strategies at the 3rds and JV levels to make sure our Varsity is as strong as possible.” Rilla said.

Rilla added, “My other goal is to train the new coaches. Squash is a niche sport, and very few people play casually. Our new coaches this year are excited to learn and this formal title gives me the latitude to hit each level of our program.”

Mark Conroy, Williston’s long-time Athletic Director, shared the background information on this decision with The Willistonian.

“While I had been considering this model for the past couple of years, the decision was made in the spring when I learned of Mr. Schmidt’s departure.” (Josh Schmidt coached Girls Varsity Squash before he left at the conclusion of the 2022-2023 school year.) “The primary reason to create this model was to provide the most equitable squash experience possible for both the boys and the girls program.  Williston is very fortunate to have a squash coach with Coach Rilla’s experience.  He is far and away our most experienced coach, so putting him in a position to impact the overall success of both the boys and girls programs made good sense to me.”

Conroy added, “There are multiple goals for this new model to include providing an equitable squash experience for all students who play squash at Williston, to provide support (and development) to all those faculty members coaching squash at Williston and to insure that our novice developmental squash players have the opportunity for the best squash experience possible during their 3-6 years in the program.”

Nevin Conroy, a junior from Portland, Maine, thinks there are pros and cons to this change.

“It’s good for both the teams, to have access to such a resource. It does suck a little bit that we don’t have him [Rilla] as a full time coach. But it should be a good step for both the boys and girls programs,” Nevin said.

Oscar Cui, a junior from Shanghai, China, said this is a great step forward for the program.

“He’s a great coach with great past experience. Hopefully this change will get Williston squash back on track and competing for NEPSAC championships.”

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