As a leader in education, Perkiomen School continues to make bold moves both in and out of the classroom, announcing that Head Boys’ Basketball Coach, Thomas Baudinet, has been named Director of Basketball Operations. This new role for Perkiomen is the next in a series of future-focused athletic shifts that the school is making for the 2021-2022 school year.
Baudinet’s new role allows for a full-time focus on athletics, where he will manage both the boys’ and girls’ basketball programs, oversee the coaching staff, add an additional squad, and concentrate on recruitment and retention of top-quality student athletes.
“This shift is a response to our vision for Perkiomen athletics and the school as a whole,” says Head of School Mark A. Devey. “One way in which we’re growing and strengthening our institution is through increasing opportunities to develop student-athletes. We are building well-rounded, top-notch students who happen to excel in sports. Their experience at Perkiomen serves as a springboard to continue their promising athletic career while thriving in a high-quality, diverse academic community. This is the right time for Perkiomen School and Thomas is the right person for the job. He has built an outstanding program that is attracting a plethora of scholar-athletes with great potential.”
Baudinet has been Head Coach of Perkiomen’s Boys’ Varsity basketball team since 2016, when the Head of School brought him in, seeking to elevate the level of basketball, while also maintaining a focus on developing well-balanced student-athletes. Under Baudinet’s leadership, the program saw rapid growth—competing with nationally ranked programs, joining a new league, and recruiting high-achieving students, 20 who are now playing at the collegiate level, including schools like Villanova, Princeton, Columbia, University of New Hampshire, and Boston University.
“Perkiomen’s basketball program has prepared me for my next four years in college by giving me an experience that is challenging and competitive both on and off the court,” says senior Philip Byriel, a three-year starter under Baudinet, who has committed to play at Princeton University. “The program does a great job of simulating the everyday rigor that college athletes experience and the coaches and teachers do a great job of guiding you through it.”
The boys’ team has an overall record of 89-36 during Baudinet’s years as head coach, including a 46-4 record at home. In the last four years, Perkiomen has twice reached the semifinals in the state tournament. The 2019-20 campaign was particularly special, as Perkiomen appeared in the national rankings for the first time in school history, peaking at a position of 15th in the country. This year, during a limited season due to the pandemic, the team was undefeated versus high school teams (11-0), winning the Commonwealth Cup, a championship title earned in a tournament held in March in Pennsylvania.
“Coach Baudinet has played a huge role in my development as both a player and a person,” says Byriel, “and knows what it takes for us to reach the level we want to be at as he has been at the highest level himself.”
Before coming to Perkiomen in 2016, Baudinet spent a year prior as an assistant coach at the University of New Haven. After attending Taft School in Watertown, Conn., he went on to play Division II basketball at Saint Anselm College before embarking on his professional career, both in the NBA’s developmental league and internationally.
“I am excited to now have the ability to be more hands-on with our student-athletes on a daily basis,” says Baudinet. “Having dedicated time with our other coaches and our players in workouts, film study, or meetings will be invaluable for their development. The challenge of helping to build a high-level girls’ program is also exciting. We are ready to compete with the best programs and to help develop female student-athletes who will play at the collegiate level.”
Baudinet’s immediate tasks will include hiring a Head Coach for the girls’ varsity basketball team and begin building an additional boys’ team, providing competition for athletes at the elite, varsity, and junior varsity levels.
“Building on the foundation we have laid with our boys’ program over the past five years, we will expand our program and add a second boys’ team to allow even more student-athletes the ability to develop and improve in our program and prepare for collegiate athletics,” says Baudinet. “We also hope to generate increased interest in our girls’ basketball program as a destination for female student-athletes.”
Baudinet will assume head coaching duties for the Panthers’ national team, while Assistant Coach Donte Gittens has been named Head Coach of the boys’ varsity team.
Gittens came to Perkiomen in 2019, after a career in professional basketball, playing with the Manchester Magic. In his collegiate years, Gittens was a two-time All-Conference player for Division II Franklin Pierce University, where he scored over 1000 points, 500 rebounds, and had more than 450 assists.
“We are excited for Coach Gittens to have the opportunity to expand his role as Head Coach of the varsity team,” says Baudinet. “It is a huge benefit to have somebody internally who knows our school and basketball program culture and will be able to head the varsity squad as a seamless part of our overall program. Donte also has a wonderful rapport with our current student-athletes. It will be great for his coaching development and leadership growth to now be able to take a more active role directing his own team in practices and in games.”
Perkiomen is poised for an exciting future in athletics and has also recently hired a Director of Lacrosse Operations Mike Kruger and a Head Volleyball Coach Leiri Melendez. With increased opportunities for both male and female athletes, one important goal is to create a strong environment for Perkiomen students to grow in order to take next step and play competitive college athletics.
“During his five years as the boys Head Basketball Coach, Coach Baudinet has developed talented teams that show a dedication to the game as well as a willingness to work hard and meet high expectations,” says Ken Baker, Perkiomen School’s Director of Athletics. “Now that he will also oversee the girls’ program, we will see those same qualities developed in our female student-athletes. Both programs will benefit from more latitude and time devoted to our students’ recruitment and growth.”