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Coach Eric Puzio is beginning his first season as head coach.

Head Coach Puzio Returns To The Dugout

Eric Puzio is back in the dugout as head coach of NHS varsity baseball after serving 12 years as assistant coach. Puzio replaces Coach Bob Harbison who resigned after 19 years as head coach. Puzio said, “I’m very excited to return to Nutley baseball. Being a former player and former assistant coach, it's been my dream to come back and be the head coach of this program. I hope to develop better relationships with the players, bring some energy and enthusiasm back to the program, and be more visibly involved which I think will advance baseball in this town even more.” 


Many people have a lot of expectations for Puzio. “For the most part we’re kind of holding serve or maintaining what we had because we’re not far off from being a very successful season. Former Coach Harbison had a very great program, some great records, and competed with the best in the state, so we’re trying to keep everything the same for the most part.” 


Puzio anticipates that this team will compete with the best in the state and work hard all throughout the season. Puzio said, “I expect us to be at the top division competing everyday with teams like Seton Hall, Milburn, and Livingston. I expect us to eventually become one of the best teams in the state. I expect these guys to show up everyday and work hard.” 


A lot is expected of the underclassmen this season as the coaches are looking for their contributions and opportunities, however the veteran players still have plenty to live up to. Puzio said, “As much as we are expecting from the underclassmen this year, we have a lot of talent from the junior and senior players. We’re looking for them to show up, represent both the town and the team, be leaders, perform to the best of their abilities, and continue to improve on and off the field.” 


There are a few players in particular to look out for this season. “There is plenty of talent on this team and I could go on for hours talking about everyone; however, there are three specific players who are real standouts this year: senior Michael Zitola, one of our starting pitchers; sophomore Drew Slomkowski, another one of our starting pitchers and a shortstop; and, lastly, senior Derek Lanzo, our starting catcher, providing good defense for our team. These three are named captains for the 2023 season.”


“Overall, I hope to generate a team that is willing to compete every night and give nothing less than their best. I need people to step up and win positions, to show up everyday with a positive attitude, and, most of all, to have fun. I would love a good rapport with the student body and have their support, especially when we’re home. Opening day is April 3rd against Livingston at 6:30 p.m. on Tangora Field. Another game I would love everyone to be at is on April 15th against Wayne Valley at the Somerset Patriots Field. Nutley is a baseball town and we shouldn’t forget that,” Puzio said.