Tony Mottola, who was hired in May to be the next Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School head football coach and a physical education and health teacher, is facing some delays coming to the Island because of housing difficulties.
“We sold our house in New York and we actually, this past weekend, moved some things to a storage facility in Falmouth,” he told The Times. “We’re all ready to make the jump to the Island. We’re just trying to piece some things together.”
Mottola already knew housing on Martha’s Vineyard would be an issue. His ideal scenario was to arrive in early July to be a part of the summer practices and “to put a face to the name.” However, a combination of housing prices, availability, and the moving process hindered his arrival. Now, he is “really working hard” to be on the Island by early August.
“We’re trying to bring three people to the Island and we have two dogs,” Mottola said. “When you’re renting, having animals is a little bit more difficult trying to find places than if it was just us going over. Plus, renting on a teacher’s salary, to be honest with you.”
The housing crisis on Martha’s Vineyard has negatively impacted Island teachers, many of whom had to move because of their own housing and financial circumstances. This spring Island voters overwhelmingly supported a Housing Bank, which is now in the hands of the state Legislature.
Mottola was able to meet “real nice families” who were able to provide rental units on the Island, the first starting on August 20. He hopes to be able to find a transitionary housing situation to get him to the Island by the early August goal.
“We pieced three rentals together to get to a long-term situation to get us to the end of the school year,” Mottola said. “But, obviously, with football and the start of school and everything else, we’re trying to get there sooner than later.”
Alternative plans are also being considered, such as only Mottola coming to the Island while the rest of the family stays on the mainland until a proper living arrangement could be made. Mottola stressed that although renting will be the initial living arrangement, the goal is to be on Martha’s Vineyard year-round and to eventually buy a house.
“Like football, it’s a game of adjustments. So, we’re making adjustments as we go,” Mottola said.
Fortunately, Mottola was able to meet the families of the football team through Zoom and was able to meet them and the players in person during a weekend. Mottola is “moving forward” and hopes the athletes are preparing for the upcoming season, which starts in late August.
“When I get to the Island, hopefully, we’ll be able to hit the ground running,” Mottola said.
When asked what it was like to finally meet his new team, Mottola said the meeting was “fantastic” and he was a quality he was “really, really impressed” with the boys.
“Every boy that walked into the meeting room came up, shook my hand, looked me in the eyes, introduced themselves. It seems like there’s great character with these kids,” Mottola said. “We’re in the feeling out process of they need to understand me and I’m really trying to understand them and build relationships.”
Mottola told The Times he is “thrilled” and thinks the boys were “locked in” on playing for the team.
“I thought it showed great character, and with that comes great leadership. I’m hoping to have all of that encompassed in what we’re trying to with the team this year and moving forward. He said.