When most students at Woodland think of Joe Fortier, they think of him as their gym teacher. Yet, to students at Pomperaug, they think of him as their Varsity Girl’s Basketball coach. This year, he led his team to the Class L state semi-finals.
Fortier started playing basketball in third grade and he was a four-year starter on varsity in high school. When he became a teacher in 2001, that is when he started his career as a basketball coach.
“I like team sports. I like being around teams and I grew up playing basketball,” Fortier revealed. Before becoming the Pomperaug girl’s basketball coach, he was the head coach of Woodland Girl’s Soccer from 2002 to 2011, assistant coach of Woodland Boy’s Basketball for six years, and assistant coach of Woodland Softball. When his kids were little he decided to cut down to only coaching Pomperaug to spend more time with them.
Since he is a resident of Middlebury, the job at Pomperaug was a great opportunity. In this season the team was very successful under Fortier’s coaching. Three of his girls were able to hit 1000 points and they made it into the state tournament, where the unfortunately lost in the very competitive Class L quarterfinals.
“I feel we overachieved this season, we only had one senior. The team that beat us went to the state championship and all of our losses came from teams that were in the top ten.”
Although Fortier is proud of his team and the season, Woodland students are not a fan of the fact that he coaches for a team other than Woodland. Fortier revealed that he often gets comments from students about him being “fake” and a “traitor.”
“I get comments here and there, and I am not sure if they are joking or not,” he joked.
Woodland sophomore, Sam Erickson is not happy that Fortier coaches for Pomperaug.
“I just do not like that he is rooting for another team besides the Hawks,” she stated. She also joked about him being a traitor.
Fortier has had much experience as a coach and continues to do great things for his teams.