Q&A with Nick DeLizio, North Branford High School (CT) Softball Coach
Updated: Jul 28
What do you love most about your sport?
I love building relationships that don't just last through the length of the season, but all four years and into adulthood. Our players get excited to connect with me and each other at school, in class, and in the halls. Preparing them for their career is a big part of it, too.
I am a big fan of baseball, and a player myself, but softball has a lot more that goes into it, coaching-wise. Decision making is much quicker so you can get more creative with drills. I love coaching, the first thing I tell my team is I love coaching them. I invest in them not just as players, but as people. Coaches and educators are in the business of helping others; helping them build character so they can succeed in life after softball.
What was the biggest challenge you overcame this year with your team?
In the beginning of this season, there was a lot of hype involving our team due to prior year's success in the conference and state tournament. High expectations from outside sources put early pressure on the girls after losing in the 2021 State Championship the year prior along with winning out sixth consecutive conference championship. Coming into this season, we lost our first three games to very good teams. On top of that, one of our captains who is a very talented player, went in for season ending surgery. I pushed the girls into taking on leadership roles so we can be where we needed to be by the end of the season. As things fell into we place, we overcame the odds and won this year's Conference Championship. If you look from the beginning of the season to where we are now, we overcame all of the challenges that we were faced with.
What has been your greatest accomplishment?
Getting the team to be able to go ahead and continue their success. We won our Conference Championship for the seventh year in a row. Coming out of COVID and having the this team step up in back-to-back years was special. Some coaches don't get a chance to go play for a conference title or even a state title one time int their career. To get there is an accomplishment in itself. The girls rose to the challenge.
Where was your fundraising profit spent?
This year was the first year we were able to raise money where all the apparel was paid for by fundraising. The girls didn't have to buy their warm-ups. We were able to cover them all. Any time we got ice cream or pizza after a game, it was covered, too. Some of that money went to our end of the season banquet and covered the fees for the girls who were able to go and play in all-star games.
Best game performance?
Winning the Shoreline Championship in back-to-back years and making it to the State Championship game in 2022.
Who is your greatest inspiration and why?
As a teacher and coach I have the opportunity to connect with other coaches and build relationships in a way that goes beyond just coaching. It is not only a coaching network, it's more than that.
Having a good network allows you to lean on each other to tackle challenges and situations that may arise throughout the course of a season. We can call each other up on the phone when we need advice, support or guidance. Other coaches who work at the school have become friends of mine. Connecting to similar situations has helped us get closer personally and professionally.
Your favorite motivational quote:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
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