WALLINGFORD — The baseball book has not yet closed for Matt Altieri.
The former Sheehan coach is ready for his next chapter in his baseball life and it will take him to the Founders League.
Altieri has accepted the position of head baseball coach at The Hotchkiss School, a prep school in Salisbury.
Altieri applied for the job around Memorial Day, not realizing how far the school was from his Cheshire home. But after a visit to the campus, he was blown away.
“The facilities are unbelievable and the athletic center is better than most colleges,” Altieri said.
As for the commute, there probably won’t be one. Altieri is confident he will have housing on campus during the season.
Hotchkiss is getting a coach with a big resume.
Altieri coached 30 years of CIAC high school baseball. His first five campaigns were at Guilford and the final 25 at Sheehan.
In all, Altieri had a 362-211 record. He only got better as the games grew in significance. His teams went 47-18 in the state tournament.
Altieri's crowning achievements were the four state championships he won with Sheehan in 2001, 2004, 2010 and 2015. The 2015 title was capped by the state's overall No. 1 ranking.
Altieri's Sheehan teams also reached the semifinals on five other occasions.
Altieri has collected several coaching awards over the years, including 1990 Guilford Sideliners Coach of the Year and 2001 New Haven Register Coach of the Year.
In 2016, he was inducted into the Southern Connecticut Diamond Club Hall of Fame. That same year, he was named the Coach of the Year by the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance.
After retiring from Sheehan two years ago, Altieri continued coaching the Wallingford Silver Storm in the Connecticut Collegiate Baseball League. He stepped down from that post after the 2020 season.
“When I retired from Sheehan I still did the Silver Storm and I was thinking of riding off into the sunset and not coach baseball again,” Altieri said. “When this opportunity came by, I looked into it and I wasn’t sure what this school was all about. I interviewed and the two ADs were great and invited me up. The campus blew me away.”
At Hotchkiss, Altieri is inheriting a team that’s been in the upper end of the Founders League. His goal is to put the Bearcats over the top.
“It’s a great opportunity," he said. “It’s different from public schools. You can recruit and work with the kids in the offseason. You are also dealing with some high-level students. They are very competitive for admissions.”
Altieri said he expects the competition in the Founders League will be similar to what he saw in the Southern Connecticut Conference for three decades.
“It’s a very competitive league,” Altieri said. “It should be a lot of fun. We only play twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays. It’s a few less games than public high schools and we start earlier.
“I think the program is looking for someone to take the controls and start to build, which is fine with me.”
The majority of the current roster hails from Connecticut. The Bearcats also have players from New York, New Jersey, Vermont and Illinois.
In all, Hotchkiss has an enrollment of about 600 students from 40 different states and 30 different countries.
Altieri said he’s excited to meet with the team sometime early next month. He’s already started the process of recruiting.
“I’m really psyched,” Altieri said. “It’s a different and special opportunity. I will have more freedom and autonomy to do things that I coudln't do in high school. The administration and ADs are very supportive. Right away, they said they were pleased to have someone with my resume and I was impressed with their professionalism.
“I'm ready to go. I think i have something to teach these kids.”
Altieri will have assistants Paul Oberto and Will Boscow on his staff.
“I’m really grateful they gave me this opportunity and they trusted me to take the wheel and bring this program up,” Altieri said. “We are going to become one of the best teams in the conference, I guarantee that. My goal is always to turn a program into a championship program and this is no different.”
Danny Smith, one of the Hotchkiss athletic directors, said the school is thrilled to have Altieri aboard.
“He very clearly has a passion for the game and I think he’s distinguished himself over many years with some good teams,” said Smith. “He sees the big picture. He’s so enthusiastic about baseball and that instantly stuck out to me.”