They turned on the lights, walked the field and Rick Garrett was sold.
The longtime successful baseball coach at St. Dominic in Oyster Bay is moving into the college ranks. Garrett has accepted the coaching position at St. Joseph's (L.I.). He'll leave St. Dominic after 17 years in the Catholic High School Athletic Association where he led the Bayhawks to four league crowns and turned them into a perennial title contender.
"I feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to coach at St. Joseph's College," Garrett said. "As a program we will build a strong foundation for our players based on work ethic, leadership, responsibility and accountability. This foundation will allow players to reach their full potential as Division III student-athletes."
Garrett takes the helm at a program that hasn't captured the Skyline Conference since 2004. The Golden Eagles were 16-22 overall and 9-7 in the Skyline in 2013. The Golden Eagles are scheduled to open their season Feb. 28 at home against Ithaca College.
"I'm looking forward to building rivalries with respected coaches like Rod Stephan at Old Westbury and Keith Osik at Farmingdale State," he said. "We want to emulate what they've done and build a successful program."
Garrett, who will remain in his role as the director of admissions and alumni relations at St. Dominic, announced his staff will include hitting coach Kraig Binick, who is coming off back-to-back championship seasons with the Long Island Ducks, pitching coach Paul Parsolano and former St. Joseph's alum Joe Benkert.
Chris Tranchina, an assistant coach for six years with the Bayhawks, will take over as St. Dominic coach.
"He was my right-hand man for 17 years," Garrett said. "It's an exciting time for everyone."
Lions wrestlers roar
The Nassau CC wrestling team is continuing its success in the NJCAA. The defending NJCAA champion for non-scholarship schools graduated six wrestlers to NCAA Division I schools last season, and hopes to add a few more this year.
Nassau had four finalists in the 2013 nationals, including James DeKrone of Elwood and Glenn High School, who earned the 141-pound championship. DeKrone was one of six All-Americans as Nassau claimed the national title, its sixth in school history. DeKrone accepted a full athletic scholarship to West Virginia, where according to Nassau coach Paul Schmidt, he used his redshirt this season.
"We're turning out some of the best talent in the country," said Schmidt, in his 27th year of coaching at the community college. "We're about getting them to the next level."
Schmitt believes Kyle Wade of Islip could be next. The sophomore took sixth place at 149 pounds in the nationals as a freshman and is 14-4 in the 157-pound weight class this season. His latest tournament triumph was a first-place finish at the Centenary Open in New Jersey.
"Wade should have been a national champ last year," Schmitt said. "He lost early in the tournament and never recovered. He's been very focused, injury-free and determined to win a title this season."
Former NJCAA national champion Anthony Abidin (133 pounds) of Half Hollow Hills East will wrestle at Nebraska. Abidin will have three years of eligibility and is projected to be a starter for the nationally ranked Cornhuskers.