Windermere Prep will see new faces leading its baseball, girls basketball, cheerleading and volleyball programs this school year.
The campus of Windermere Prep may be quiet now, but the school’s athletic department has been busy.
Last week, the school announced the addition of four new head coaches who will be taking over programs at the school, including Roger Peluso (volleyball), Adam Taylor (baseball), Audrey Petterson (cheer) and Radhika Miller (girls basketball).
For the last 19 years, Roger Peluso led the Ransom Everglades girls volleyball program to new heights.
In 2013, his Raiders team won the FHSAA state title, and he was named Florida Dairy Farmers and Miami Herald Coach of the Year for his leadership.
For the past year, Peluso taught and coached at Winter Park High School, but when the job opened at Windermere Prep, he couldn’t say no — mainly because he saw how supportive the community and administration was at the school.
“They see the potential in things, and I really like that,” Peluso said. “I like to be a part of things that grow — I’m a little older now, and I’ve been on the other side of it where you are kind of just part of it, and I like it. It’s a lot of fun to see the before and after.”
Although questions remain about the start of the season because of COVID-19, Peluso hopes he and his athletes can get to the court sooner than later.
“I just hope that whatever is modified that the kids who are in the program have an opportunity to play,” Peluso said. “I feel like we’ve been away from sports so much that this is the one thing that is a positive.”
When it comes to basketball, Radhika Miller just can’t get enough.
A native of Tennessee, Miller joins the Lakers family following an impressive nine-year stint at Cumberland County High School, where she led the Lady Jets to six district championships, five sub-state sectional games and was named coach of the year four times.
Miller, who first got into coaching after graduating from the University of North Alabama, is quite familiar with Windermere Prep. For the last five years, she brought her team down to participate in the Rock Holiday Classic basketball tournament held at the school.
“I’m excited to be a part of it,” Miller said. “I developed some good friendships here with some of the other coaches and people here in the area, and to have an opportunity to come and be a part of this great community here at Windermere Prep, it’s a new journey.”
The basketball season doesn’t start for a while, but Miller has been ready to go since she got here, she said.
“I want the players to buy in to what I want this program to be about,” Miller said. “I want this program to be built on a defensive foundation … and hard work.”
Adam Taylor’s life always has revolved around baseball.
Following his collegiate playing days at Randolph-Macon College, he moved on to the coaching side of the game, and for the past 17 years, that’s where he’s been.
Taylor has had coaching stints at several schools — including the University of Richmond — where he served in different roles before going into coaching in the private school and travel-ball realms.
Much like the other new coaches joining the Lakers, Taylor was impressed by the school.
“After the interview process — which took a while, understandably — and being able to go over and see the facilities and what was in place, I knew it was a really good fit,” Taylor said. “I’m excited. It’s certainly my first high school head-coaching job, but not my first rodeo.”
Cheerleading has always been something Audrey Petterson has held close to her heart — so much so that she has dedicated nearly 20 years of her life to coaching it.
From her first introduction to the sport as a 7-year-old to her current coaching position at Top Gun All-Stars of Orlando in Ocoee — where she has coached for going on 18 years — Petterson has long had a knack for teaching. It’s what drew her to the open position at Windermere Prep.
“I’m super excited to take on a program and help it build,” Petterson said. “I feel like in this time of so much uncertainty … cheerleaders are probably going to be more important than ever for really building the positive spirit of the school.”