Inside the Huddle: Q&A with Broad Run’s Long Time Baseball Head Coach Pat Cassidy

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Ashburn, Va. — After 19 years at the helm of the Broad Run High School baseball program, head coach Pat Cassidy has announced he is stepping down to spend more time with his family.

While the Spartan head coach, Cassidy has earned district coach of the year awards five times and accumulated a 229-176 record even with Broad Run splitting three times over his two decade reign with the opening of Potomac Falls in 1997, Stone Bridge in 2000 and Freedom in 2005.

Cassidy began volunteer coaching at his alma mater in 1996, becoming the head coach just a year later. Since 1997, Broad Run has won a region championship, four district championships and has seen 30 players continue their baseball careers at the next level.

The most recent player success story from Cassidy’s camp was 2011 graduate Taylor Clarke who was a third round draft pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2015 Major League Baseball first-year player draft just three weeks ago.

On top his work with the Spartans’ baseball and basketball programs, Cassidy is an English teacher at Broad Run.

Cassidy – who graduated from Broad Run High School in 1991 – sat down with LoCoSports editor Owen Gotimer to give us the scoop: inside the huddle.

Owen Gotimer: First of all, congratulations on all of your dedication, hard work and success as the head coach of the Broad Run baseball team. You took over the Spartan program in 1997. Why are you stepping down after nearly 20 years?

Pat Cassidy: It was a difficult decision to step away from coaching because I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with my staff and our players, but ultimately the time I was spending with others was time I want to and need to spend watching my own children’s sports and activities.

My older daughter made the varsity softball team at Broad Run this year as a freshman, and I only saw her play six or seven games since many times we are scheduled to play on the same nights, so I decided it was time to take a break from baseball for a while.  It will also give me more time to spend watching my younger daughter dance and to fish with my six-year-old son!

Gotimer: Being involved in something for two decades shows tremendous commitment. What has this Broad Run program meant to you over the years?

Cassidy: I know that the word “special” gets overused a lot in sports, but that is the word that comes to my mind when I think about getting to be in charge of the baseball program at Broad Run. This place is “special” to me.

I played baseball and basketball at Broad Run.  This is where I met my wife when we were both students.  My oldest daughter is a student here and my other two children will come to school here.

I was able to spend almost two decades running the baseball program at the school where me and my buddies played our sports growing up in our teenage years.  The people who taught and coached me here had a profound influence on my life – and I think I have been very fortunate to have been in the same position to hopefully have impacted some of my own players in the same way.

Gotimer: In high school you played baseball for current Loudoun Valley High School head coach Wayne Todd. What was that experience like, and what is it like coaching against him for almost two decades?

Cassidy: Playing for coach Todd was probably one of the main reasons I became a coach. We won the 1991 VHSL AA state title my senior year playing for him and that is one of my best memories I carry with me as a former athlete.

He was the most demanding coach I have ever played for – and he was also the most fair coach I ever played for. He always told our team the truth. When we played well he let us know, and you can be sure when we didn’t play well he let us know too. We never had a minute of wasted practice time. He is, by far, the most organized and structured coach I have ever played or practiced for.

All those qualities he has as a coach are things I tried to replicate as a coach: be structured, be organized, communicate clearly with your staff and players, be fair, run good practices, etc. A lot of the coaching philosophy I used every day comes from having played for coach Todd.

Since I became a coach, he is the one person in the profession that I have turned to more than anyone else I know. Anytime I have ever had a question or needed some advice or made a mistake that I needed to fix, he is the one baseball coach I would speak to about it. I really can’t pay him back for all he did to help me as a coach.

Coaching against coach Todd was a blast. We could always joke around with each other before or after the games and get along with other, but during the games I wanted to beat him, and I am sure he wanted to beat me. He is back at his alma mater coaching where he won a state title back in the 70s, and I was at my alma mater coaching my school where we won the state title in ’91. I always thought that was kind of a neat scenario. We won a few times against Loudoun Valley, but they definitely won a bunch of times against us.

Gotimer: Here’s something people might find interesting to know about you. You’re a published author! Your book — Effective Coaching: Teaching Young People Sports and Sportsmanship — gives a sneak peek into the realm of coaching. What is the best piece of advice you can give to young coaches looking to succeed at the high school level?

Cassidy: I have two pieces of advice for a new coach. The first piece of advice would be to remove your ego. John Costello – the head basketball coach who I am an assistant coach for at Broad Run – taught me that. As a coach, it is not about you – it is about the kids that you coach. He is right; the best coaches focus on their players and not on themselves. Too many guys think when the team wins they are the reason why: they are wrong. The players win the games; we are just along for the ride as coaches.

The second piece of advice I have is to surround yourself with good people. The only reason I lasted as a head coach as long as I did is because I was extremely fortunate to have outstanding assistant coaches to advise me and fix the things I messed up.

When I started here my assistant coaches were John Costello who I work for now and Jason Bagby. Jason and I were teammates in Little League and at Broad Run before he played at JMU. Both are great people and two of my best friends in my life.

I was extremely lucky to have some former players come back to Broad Run to assist me. My brother-in-law, Matt Wiley, assisted me after playing college baseball at UMBC. Chris Null pitched for me and came back to assist me after he pitched at Bridgewater College. Jeff Fletcher assisted me after he played in the program for coach Todd. Also, three guys who I coached against when they played at Loudoun County High School – Tim Anderson, Mike Petrella and Mike Puckli – all coached here, too. All three were great coaches and great people.

Gotimer: You played and coached baseball and basketball. If you had to choose to play only one and coach only one which one(s) would you choose?

Cassidy: That is easy. Right now I wouldn’t play either because I would have a heart attack. Ha!

I always thought I would become a head basketball coach because that is the sport I played in college, but over the years I liked coaching baseball better. The pace of the game is slower in baseball so as a coach you have more time in between pitches or in between innings to communicate and coach your athletes. In basketball, the crowd noise and the pace of the game make it harder to coach your athletes in the middle of a contest. But I still like coaching both of them a lot!

Gotimer: Any departing words?

Cassidy: I was very lucky not only to have good baseball coaches around me, but more importantly, great people around me.

The last thing I will say is this: some people say they are “blessed” to have played or coached a sport. I think that is a little over the top – I wouldn’t say I was blessed to coach baseball here, but I would say that I consider myself very fortunate or lucky to have had the opportunity to coach so many great young men and work with so many great coaches at a place that is so near and dear to my heart.

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Owen Gotimer has a passion for helping people grow and self-educate through new media. Owen spent his college years at Syracuse University, where he studied broadcast and digital journalism in the renowned Newhouse School of Public Communications. In his "free time", Owen volunteers as a varsity baseball coach at John Champe and is the president of the Jeffrey C. Fowler Memorial Scholarship.

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  1. Nice Job Owen, I’m glad to see Pat’s accomplishments acknowledged. Since I first met Pat I’ve always said he is a rare breed- a person who grew up in Loudoun County and has never stopped being an integral part of the community and a person that young people should look up to.
    I first met Pat during my involvement in Dulles Little League and I enjoyed his coaching clinics (almost as much as he did). While coaching travel baseball I contacted Pat to ask him to share how he ran his practices, handled certain game situations, etc. since we had 6 kids on the team who were eventually Broad Run bound. Pat proceeded to come out to our practices for most of a summer to help us run our practices and teach us coaches his way of doing things and when I told him I would feel bad if not all of the kids went to Broad Run or continued playing baseball he said that didn’t matter to him, he just enjoyed working with the kids. I’m happy to say that 5 of those kids are now in the Broad Run baseball program.
    Pat loves boasting about the accomplishments of his former players and coaches, but in my opinion he deserves a lot of thanks for being a fine teacher, coach and most of all role model.
    Thanks Pat!

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