New Fairfield promotes Gregory Schwarz to replace Anthony Fata as football coach

New Fairfield promoted defensive coordinator Gregory Schwarz to head coach on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022.

New Fairfield promoted defensive coordinator Gregory Schwarz to head coach on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022.

Contributed Photo / Contributed Photo

Gregory Schwarz has been hired as the head coach for the New Fairfield football team, taking over for Anthony Fata, who has stepped down from the position after 12 years.

Schwarz is a teacher at New Fairfield and has been part of the football coaching staff for seven years, most recently as the defensive coordinator. He is also the coach of the girls lacrosse team.

“We brought together a committee and went through multiple rounds of interviews,” New Fairfield Athletic Director Mark Ottusch said. “As we went through the process it was clear that coach Schwarz emerged as the top candidate for the job. He values the same things we value in terms of characteristics we want to instill in our student-athletes.”

Schwarz will replace Fata, who was 70-49 at New Fairfield.

“(Schwarz) is the right man for this job. He is a teacher in the building, and it just made a lot of sense,” Fata said. “He was our strength and conditioning coach and our defensive coordinator. He has been there through all the good rides we have had, and he is dedicated to working hard and football. He is a football guy, and they did it right by hiring him.”

New Fairfield had only been to the state playoffs once before Fata took over the program, and has gone 3-4 in state playoff games in four appearances.

“I am still going to be involved with coaching football whether it be in New Fairfield or back in New York,” Fata said. “I got the pleasure of working in New Fairfield for 12 years, running that program and seeing my kids come through it and play. I loved every minute of it, it was just time.”

In 2015 New Fairfield made it to the Class M final, where it fell to Brookfield 21-14. In 2016 the Rebels lost to eventual champion Hillhouse in the Class M quarterfinals, and in 2018 New Fairfield lost to Killingly in the Class M quarterfinals.

In Fata’s final season this fall, he led the Rebels to the Class S semifinals with his son, Ryan, as the team’s top receiver. New Fairfield went 9-3 and was defeated by Bloomfield 22-14.

“I only got to work with coach Fata for two years as an Athletic Director,” Ottusch said. “But the professionalism and organization he had were second to none, and I believe that coach Schwarz having served on his staff is prepared to transition smoothly having learned from Fata. And being a new Athletic Director at the time, I certainly learned a lot from coach Fata as well.”

Fata owns all three of the New Fairfield program’s state playoff wins, starting with the Rebels 24-0 Class M quarterfinal win over two-time defending champion St. Joseph in 2015, and finishing with this past fall’s 41-7 Class S quarterfinal win over Holy Cross.

“At this stage of my career after 22 years of coaching varsity football, there is a lot that went into it,” Fata said. “They needed some new young blood in there, to run a varsity program right you need to be invested in Pop Warner and recruiting in the middle school. At this stage of my career, I felt like it was a perfect time to take a step back.”

Schwarz will be closely involved with youth programs considering he is in a similar position as Fata was when he first arrived at New Fairfield.

“Coach Fata’s son is graduating this year, and when he took this job, his son was involved in pop warner football, so he knew it would be a long-term thing for him to be here,” Ottusch said. “Coach Schwarz currently has his children who are also in our youth football program, so we see it as a great way to continue to bridge the gap between the high school and youth level.”

Now Schwarz will look to leave his own legacy at New Fairfield, continuing to build on the program Fata has left for him.

“I can promise you that we are going to approach the sport of football with the respect that it deserves. I look forward to creating a family culture on and off the field rooted in hard work that will make the alumni, the town and the school district proud for years to come,” Schwarz said in a press release. “A sincere heartfelt thank you to all that have had even the slightest part in me achieving this lifelong dream.”; @AldamWill