New Faces on the Sidelines this Fall

The Deerfield Academy Athletic Department announces three new fall varsity head coaches for the 2016-2017 school year. Brian Barbato, Khaleh Thomas, and Ramesh Rajballie will assume their new roles at Deerfield leading the football, volleyball and boys soccer programs, respectively.

“I’ve been pleased to see the excitement and energy coming from all three of these coaches in the conversations we’ve been having about their programs over the summer months,” commented Deerfield’s newly appointed athletic director Bob Howe. “In all three cases I think we’ve put in place people who are passionate about their sport and will work hard to develop our student athletes.”

BRIAN BARBATO – Head Football Coach

Barbato enters his 1st season as the Varsity Head Football coach after joining the Deerfield community in the fall of 2015.

Barbato spent the past 8 years coaching at his alma mater the University of New Hampshire, where he coached the tight ends, offensive line and special teams. During his time with the Wildcats, UNH went 66 and 26 and maintained the longest streak of playoff appearances in the FCS.

The Exeter, N.H., native graduated from UNH in ’04 with a degree in Sociology. He started 37 games during his playing career while seeing time at all five offensive line positions. He was named All-Atlantic 10 Second Team in 2003 and All-Atlantic 10 Third Team in 2002.

Barbato also coached outside linebackers and safeties at St. Lawrence University for two seasons while earning his Masters of Education. In addition to coaching football, Barbato is an Admission Officer, coordinates the Weekend Activities for students, and coaches boys JV lacrosse in the spring.

KHALEH THOMAS – Head Girls Volleyball Coach

Thomas joined the Deerfield community last fall and was an assistant coach for the varsity volleyball team and girls JV basketball teams. This year, she will take over the reins for the girls varsity volleyball team.

A native of Brunswick, GA, Thomas was a tri-varsity student-athlete at Brunswick High School, where she was a four-year starter and letterman in volleyball, basketball, and track and field. Upon graduation, Khaleh joined the Women’s Basketball program at Valdosta State University.  Throughout her four years, she helped lead Valdosta State to a NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference East Championship and “Sweet Sixteen” and “Elite Eight” appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament. Thomas earned several honors for her success as a student-athlete at Valdosta, including: Gulf South Conference Top Ten Student-Athlete of the Year (2006-2007 season), Gulf South Conference Winter All-Academic Team (2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons), and ESPN the Magazine All-Academic First-Team (2006-2007 season).

This year, along with coaching volleyball, she will serve as a chemistry teacher in the Science Department, faculty resident of Rosenwald dormitory, and head coach for the girls JV basketball team.

RAMESH RAJBALLIE – Head Boys Soccer Coach

Rajballie becomes the head boys varsity soccer coach after serving as the boys JV soccer head coach.

Ramesh grew up in Toronto, Canada, and was a multi-sport athlete through high school.  He excelled at soccer and was fortunate to have been mentored by many fine coaches.   His club teams won provincial and national championships, and in his teens he was invited into the provincial- and national-team programs.  He represented Canada at the U-17 and U-20 levels.  From there he moved on to Harvard University, where he was a four-year starter, was twice named Ivy-League Player-of-the-Week, and won All-Ivy, All-New England, and Academic All-American honors.  During his college years, Harvard won the Ivy-League championship and made two NCAA Division-I Final-Four appearances.  Ramesh rounded out his playing career with three years of professional soccer with the Toronto Blizzard of the Canadian Soccer League, where he played alongside and against many of the best American and Canadian players of the day.  His most memorable experience on the field was playing against Flamengo Club of Brazil and being assigned to mark the legendary Zico out of the game.

Ramesh studied at Harvard, the University of Toronto and the University of Oxford, and has lived, worked and traveled extensively in North America and Europe.  He is fluent in French and Italian.  He holds the NSCAA Premier Diploma.  Prior to his 10 years of coaching at Deerfield, he played and coached soccer in Canada, England, France and Italy.  At Deerfield Ramesh teaches American and European history and a senior elective entitled “Global Soccer.”