Rich Porfido named new Columbia HS athletics supervisor

Rich Porfido, Columbia High School’s supervisor of athletics and activities, smiles during a busy workday in his office at Columbia High School on July 20.

MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Rich Porfido is excited to be the new supervisor of athletics and activities at Columbia High School. He took over the position a few weeks ago.

Porfido is quite familiar with the rich tradition of CHS athletics, as he has served as athletic director at two other Essex County high schools.

“I’m actually really honored to be here,” said Porfido in an interview with the News-Record. “There is so much history at Columbia High School, as many people know, and my goal is to maintain that successful tradition that we’ve had and see if we can try to bring things into the future and continue that success and take us to an even higher level.”

Porfido was the athletic director at Livingston High School for four years. Before that, he was the athletic director at Caldwell High School for 11 years. He also was the athletic director at Wayne Hills in Passaic County for two years.

In addition, Porfido has an extensive coaching background. He was an assistant women’s soccer coach at Troy State University in Alabama; the team competed against fellow in-state schools, such as the University of Alabama and Auburn University. 

Porfido, who taught history and social studies, also was a head coach at Passaic Valley High School in Little Falls for girls soccer, boys track and field, and boys tennis, and was an assistant women’s basketball coach at Bloomfield College.

While he was at Livingston and Caldwell, Porfido got a chance to see some of the CHS coaches in action at games and events and was always impressed. Now that he is at CHS, Porfido said it’s been great for him to meet those coaches one-on-one to get to know them a little better. 

“I’ve had the pleasure of watching coaches from the other side, whether it was at Livingston or Caldwell, over the last few years. That’s been nice. But now sitting down as a Cougar, it’s been really refreshing to hear their perspective and philosophy on athletics and the challenges they face, but also the successes that they’ve had, and see how I can help them and keep them reaching their goals,” said Porfido, whose younger brother, Dave Porfido, is the athletic director at Cliffside Park High School in Bergen County.

Underhill Field is undergoing a renovation project this summer, which is exciting for the CHS athletic program.

Make no mistake, Porfido will always look to provide support to the CHS coaches and student-athletes.

“The coaches that I’ve been fortunate to meet already, their philosophies are really in line with what an educationally based athletic program should be, which I think is really the ideal starting point,” he said, “and then we see where they can succeed and help them out … we are going to try to deliver that, to get them to that next level of success on the field. 

“Sometimes we really need to understand what a student-athlete is off the field, whether it’s character, citizenship, how they become a leader,” Porfido added. “I always think we throw that captain leadership title on them, and we don’t tell them what they need to do for that, and that’s not fair to those students. I think trying to help with that approach doesn’t hurt and it develops our kids a little bit better and hopefully helps our coaches, too.”

Porfido is grateful for all the support and well wishes he has received at CHS. He also gave credit to Amy Singer, who has been in the CHS athletic department for several years, for helping in the transition.

“I am really happy to be here,” Porfido said. “Everybody has been so welcoming.”

Photo by Joe Ragozzino.