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Mella, Ecke appointed to lead varsity football program

March 13, 2023

Cheshire Academy did not have to look far to find its newest head coach of the varsity football program.

Bill Mella.

Bill Mella, longtime coach of the sport and collegiate-level offensive lineman, has been appointed head coach of the program. Mella replaces Dan Mehleisen, who served as head coach during the 2022-2023 season and previously as defensive coordinator for the program.

Joining Mella as associate head coach is Mark Ecke, member of CA’s faculty with more than 30 years of coaching experience at the high school level.

Mella touts an impressive resume, experience of which he will apply to CA’s program. He has more than 35 years of experience coaching at the high school and collegiate levels, including as head coach at Bassick High School (Bridgeport) and Avon Old Farms School, and as assistant coach at Kingswood Oxford School, Wesleyan University, and Trinity College.

At Avon Old Farms, Mella led the team to one undefeated season, three Erickson League Championships, was instrumental in securing 55 student-athletes playtime at the collegiate level, and produced more than 40 All-League players, 15 All New England players, and several other award-winning players.

While at Trinity, Mella assisted the team to a 22-win streak, which spanned three seasons.

At CA, Mella teaches mathematics and computer science courses and is head coach of the varsity boys’ lacrosse program.

Mark Ecke.

Upon his appointment, Mella said, “I’m fired up to make sure that this program is on the tip of everyone’s tongue every year. We’re going to win, and we’re going to win a lot, and it’s going to be because of the kids and the brotherhood that we perpetuate. I’m building on top of the program that Danny O’Day and David Dykeman built, and I just see myself as the custodian — the caretaker — of that. My job is to try and give the young men in the program the same championship experiences that I enjoyed myself as a player.”

Ecke boasts similar experience to Mella, with years as head coach at Capital Preparatory Harbor School (Bridgeport), Danbury High School, and Cheshire High School, and as assistant coach at West Haven High School and Trinity College. Under his tutelage, Ecke was head coach of four state championship teams, seven Southern Connecticut Conference Division champion teams, and a USA Today Super 25 team, and coached many players who went on to receive recognitions and awards, including state Gatorade Player of the Year.

Ecke has also worked as an educator since 2014, currently teaching history & social science courses. He also taught at Capital Prep, as well as James Hillhouse High School, and Danbury High School.