Steven, when we left off yesterday, you were telling us what happened to some of the key players after they won the championship. What about you? What did you do?
After the 1995 season, I decided to move on and assisted at Emmett O’Brien Regional Technical High School in neighboring Ansonia. In 1997, I went to Seymour High to be an assistant coach with Bob Kelo where I continued to coach the “Wildcats” for ten seasons. During my ten years at Seymour, we made it to the finals of the “L” Division tournament three times and the semifinals three other times. In 2007, I returned to Derby as an assistant coach to try and help resurrect their program. After we missed out on making the state tournament by only one game, I combed the State scouting tournament opponents for the Seymour Wildcats who finally gave Coach Kelo his first state championship.
In addition to being a coach, you are a lawyer. How do you manage to balance work, coaching, and family life?
During a baseball season, it’s really imbalanced. Before the spring season starts, I try the best I can to maneuver my law schedule to have mostly early day and night appointments and Court matters after the spring season ends. During the season I get up, go to my office, work my tail off. At about 1:45 p.m. I change out of my suit as fast as I can, put on sweats and sneaks and my baseball cap (unless it’s a game day where I throw on the uniform), jump in my car and head out for our field or our opponent’s field. If I’m not late, I am sometimes lucky enough to stop for some coffee or bottles of Snapple and some Bazooka Joe or Big League Chew to get me through wacking fly balls, ground balls and pitching batting practice. After practice or a game, I drive back to the office, I meet my wife there and we go out for dinner, then I return to the office work or meet clients and then finally go home around midnight. If I’m lucky enough to not have any work to catch up on and my wife doesn’t either(she’s the Executive Director of a local YMCA) we also take in a movie. I’ve been lucky to have a very supportive wife. It may sound strange, but although its hectic during the season, I actually relax more. During the games or practice, I’m able to concentrate on what’s happening and not worry about the stress of practicing law. The diamond never changes. That’s one of the great things about baseball, it’s timeless.
What would you say is the most important life lesson you learned during the experience of coaching the Derby Championship team?
Although I know it sounds cliche, I’d have to say it’s the life lesson of not quitting. Those players taught me that when you think you don’t have anything else in the tank, you still do. Second is that I learned that a big part of the joy of coaching is the comradery you have with your fellow coaches.
Thanks for this, Steven.
Join us tomorrow for our final installment of our interview with author and coach Steven Reilly. We’ll be discussing the ins and outs of good coaching, as well as the possibility of future writing projects.