Sanchez named new football coach at NLHS

Jan. 22—NEW LONDON — Bobby Sanchez, the defensive coordinator for Valley Regional/Old Lyme’s 2014 state championship team, has been named the new head football coach at New London High School.

Sanchez succeeds Johnny Burns, who resigned after the recent 2-8 season.

“We’re fortunate to have a Coach of Bobby’s acumen here,” Athletic director Phil Orbe said. “He got endorsements from many successful coaches like Tim King (Valley/Old Lyme) and Tom Dyer (Hamden) and it speaks to his ability to thrive at this position.”

Sanchez, who has also accepted a position as a technology teacher at New London, coached for six years at Valley. He coached under Dyer (who won state championships at Hillhouse) at Hamden in 2021. He spent this past season at Middletown High School.

“The appeal of coaching at New London goes back to when we were doing passing league here with our guys at Valley,” Sanchez said. “I remember coming here and driving past the STEM building. I’m an engineering teacher. I’m seeing the great facilities. Then on the field, there was just something different about the New London kids. They pass the eye test. They ‘ve got some dudes.”

Sanchez has some familiarity with the city. His wife, Brittany, is the Director of Child Welfare Services for the New London-based Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut.

“Any city — small city, large city — it’s about the people. It’s about the community, the demographics,” Sanchez said. “I’m a half Puerto Rican, half Irish kid from Chicago. My parents grew up together in the same neighborhood. We knew the struggle. I grew up in the struggle. I’m a Chicago public school kid.

“I’ve turned down a job offer at Hamden Hall. I’ve turned down job offers at private schools, because at my heart, at my core, I am a public school guy. And all you have to do is look at the last two years at Middletown and Hamden, I firmly believe that I belong in public school environments, and I want that connection with the people.

“I want the struggle, I want the challenges. It’s when you overcome the challenges, especially in a group situation, the rewards are that much more fulfilling.”

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