Spotlight On: The Athletics Department

The three individuals behind The Purple Knights: Melanie Martin, Sabrina Brassil, and Kevin Auffery!


(From left to right) Mrs. Brassil, Melanie Martin, and Kevin Auffery. (Photo credits to Brendan Leahy and Liza Keane)

Every year, hundreds of Holyoke High students sign up to play sports during all three seasons. To the students, all it includes is writing their name on a sheet and then showing up to try outs, but a lot more goes on behind the scenes. Melanie Martin, Sabrina Brassil, and Kevin Auffery are the people who make playing sports possible for Holyoke High students.

Melanie Martin, also known as Mel to most Holyoke High students, is our athletic director, but she didn’t always hold that title. Mel started working at Holyoke High in January of 1993. Her first job was as athletic trainer and a physical education teacher.

When asked why she wanted to become an athletic trainer she replied, “I combined my mom’s love of medicine, with my love of sports.” When one of our current physical education teacher Ms. Pel came to Holyoke High, Mel became a health teacher and then in 2013 she started her career as our athletic director.

Mel knew she wanted to be an athletic trainer from the time she was a junior in high school, she went to college and studied medicine at Springfield College and got both her bachelors and master’s degrees there. She did her rotations at Winnick, Wilbraham- Monson academy, and she also did football, field hockey, and softball at Springfield College.

In 2013 when Mel became Holyoke High’s athletic director she took on a lot of responsibility with the position. Mel now oversees the entire athletic program: she takes care of scheduling games and busing to games, she’s responsible for the hiring of new coaches, and manages the budget.

Holyoke High takes a lot of pride in its student athletes – none of it would be possible without a dedicated athletic department.

“Having been here for 25 years I don’t really want to be anywhere else,” said Mel. “I love the kids, I love the families, and I love the crazy dynamics that happen here.”

Mel is not alone in the everyday work that goes into Holyoke High sports, Sabrina Brassil plays a big role in the effort. In 1994, Mrs. Brassil began her job as the administrative assistant for the athletic department. Mrs. Brassil is in charge of checking over the grades for the student athletes and if the grades don’t meet the standards the student cannot play the sport they signed up for.

Mrs. Brassil worked at the Gas and Electrics prior to working at Holyoke high. Before becoming the administrative assistant she was Principal Hogan’s assistant. She doesn’t only overlook the student’s grades, she is also in charge of ordering uniforms, contacting new staff and she also organizes and oversees the special ed ice skating program.

“We get along so well really, we basically co-run everything,” said Mrs. Brassil, referring not only to  Mel but also our new athletic trainer Kevin Auffery.

Kevin Auffery, also known as Kev, began as athletic trainer in the spring of 2013. In this role, he is responsible for tending to and monitoring all the student athlete’s injuries and making sure they are prepared for their sports seasons. Like Mel, he’s wanted to be an athletic trainer since he was a junior in high school.

Kev went to Endicott College and his rotations took place at The Pingry School and Brandies College.

“Athletic training was the link between sports and the medical field,” said Auffery of why the athletic trainer position caught his eye.

Before working at Holyoke High, Kev worked at Chicopee Comp for five years, and then he worked at West Springfield High for 8 years. Kev believes that the way the athletics are run in each school is very similar but the diversity in each school was very different.

“I think I have found my place,” said Kev. “I’m very happy here and at this point I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere soon.”

Melanie Martin, Mrs. Brassil, and Kevin Auffery play huge roles in the athletics that go into Holyoke High. For Holyoke, the student athletes will be in good hands because this group doesn’t sound like they are leaving anytime soon!