Dustin Almeida has wanted to be a coach ever since he was a student himself.
Almeida started coaching Middletown students when he was in high school. He served as the assistant coach for Arthur Napolitano, the coach at the time for Middletown’s youth football league, Pop Warner.
“Basically, my job was to hold the clipboard, but I was on my way,” Almeida said with a laugh.
Since then, he has coached ten seasons of Middletown football.
In addition to coaching, Almedia teaches health and physical Education at his old middle school, Gaudet.
Almeida graduated from Middletown High School in 1991, then from the University of Rhode Island in 1996. He married his wife, Nelia, also a Middletown High School graduate, in 1998.
Nelia currently teaches 4th grade at Portsmouth Middle School. They have one son, Huntley, who is named after his mother’s maiden name and will be seven this month.
When Almeida graduated from college, he said there were no teaching jobs in Rhode Island, so he accepted a position at the Boys and Girls Club on Church Street in Newport. He was trying to balance coaching and his new job, but the hours at the Boys and Girls Club made it challenging.
"I was missing practices, the hours just didn't allow it," he said.
To pursue his dream of coaching, in 1998, Almeida began scouring the job boards on the Internet for open positions. After months of applying to positions all over the country, Almedia received a call from Florida.
“Are you serious about moving?” said the voice on the phone.
He was serious about coaching. After a few round of interviews, Almeida accepted the position as Head Coach of Riverview High School in Florida.
Three years later, in 2002, a coach he used to work with in Middletown called to tell Almeida that three physical education positions were opening up.
“All the years I’ve played and coached in Middletown, we were all extremely tight,” he said.
The Almeidas wanted to start a family. They thought about the community and the beaches of Middletown and decided it was worth a shot to come back home.
“I put in an application and Rosemarie Kraeger was kind enough to give me a job,” he said.
The Almeidas returned to Rhode Island; this time his teaching schedule allowed him to coach his hometown team.
“The kids in this town are great,” the coach said. “The sense of community and family makes my job really easy. I’ve been to places when we didn’t have that. I’m thankful to raise my kids in this atmosphere.”
He said last year’s loss to Rogers High School in the State Championship was difficult, but the rivalry across the three teams on the island is just part of the game.
“We have a good team,” Almeida of his current line-up. "I'm excited about next season."