The former football captain is now the captain of .
There was a small crowd at Wednesday's Sachem Board of Education meeting, but it was a big night for Lou Antonetti, who was named the new principal of East.
Antonetti, who has been an assistant principal at East since 2008, begins a standard three-year probationary period as principal on Thursday.
"We wish you the best of luck and I know you don't need it because you are going to do an outstanding job," Board President Rob Scavo said of Antonetti after the board voted unanimously to appoint the 1996 Sachem graduate to the post.
Antonetti's ascent to principal was by no means easy. He had to beat out 22 others who interviewed before the board for the position. Six days before his own interview on July 16, Antonetti underwent an appendectomy.
"I think I walked out of there pretty pale," he joked of sitting before the board still very much recovering from surgery.
"It was something where the adrenaline was going," Antonetti said. "It was something I wanted to do."
Antonetti was the captain of the football and lacrosse squads during his senior year at Sachem. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and earned a degree in economics from the Ivy League institution in 2000.
Antonetti worked on Wall Street for a year and a half before heading back to school, this time picking up a master's degree in history, as well as an advanced graduate certificate in school district leadership, from SUNY Stony Brook.
Antonetti taught AP economics at the former Sachem South for a year and then continued as a social studies teacher when East opened in 2004. He now replaces Rory Manning, who a position as the principal of Harborfields High School.
Antonetti said one of his main goals will be to increase the number of graduates who go on to four-year colleges.
Superintendent Jim Nolan told Patch that Antonetti stood out from the other candidates for the position with a "unique combination" of traits.
"People were impressed by his humility, his intelligence, his personality, the fact that he has demonstrated a high level of ethical leadership," Nolan said. "People follow his lead."
Hiring from within the school's ranks, Nolan said, will also allow Antonetti to "hit the ground running because he knows the environment."
Antonetti called himself a "team-oriented person," adding that the more people he can work with, the better.
"I just want to bring a positive approach to things," he said of heading up Sachem East. "A lot of people sometimes tend to focus on the negative so my main goal is to just keep people optimistic, keep people positive and it's something where I've had leadership positions my whole life."
Antonetti said that when he found out he had landed the principal job, he "got a little bit of the chills. It was almost surreal."
It becomes very real tomorrow when Principal Antonetti is officially in charge.