April 11th marked the 300th win for Roselle Park Softball Coach Fran Maggio, but he is not the kind to rest on his laurels. He wants his players – and himself – to keep looking ahead to the next game and the next win. He did not have to wait long since his team has won two games they since then. Coach Maggio takes it all in stride and keeps it in perspective.
“It’s a nice accomplishment. I’m happy with it but it basically just also means that I’ve been around a while,” said the coach jokingly. He added, “All in all, I consider it a nice milestone as part of my coaching career but it also shows my longevity.”
Mr. Maggio has been head softball coach for 20 years. He has coached overall for quarter of a century, being an assistant football coach under John Wagner. Having come to Roselle Park High School 22 years ago, his first two years had Coach Maggio as the freshman baseball coach. In his third year, the softball job opened up that winter and he was asked if he would be interested in taking the position, “I’d seen about five softball games in my life and had never coached girls at that point. It was with a little trepidation I took it but I was young and I saw it as an opportunity to be a head coach. As they say the rest is history. Here – 20 years later – I’m still doing it.”
Along with being the head softball coach, Mr. Maggio teaches History and Social Studies at Roselle Park High School (RPHS).
Before then, Mr. Maggio had played baseball on the collegiate level for four years at Montclair State University after having had played baseball and football in high school. He took that love for sports to the next natural progression, saying, “I just kind of carried it through to the next step which was teaching and coaching.”
Coaching – as well as teaching – is in the family with Mr. Maggio’s father having been the athletic director at Plainfield for 26 years with a total of 39 years in that school district. Coach Maggio’s older brother, John, is currently the athletic director for Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District.
In his years of coaching, Mr. Maggio has always seen the big picture when it comes to what he wants to bestow on his players. He said, “It would be the feeling of seeing them develop and grow into responsible people and going on to do great things after athletics as far as college and career and life.”
Coach Maggio is most proud of the fact that many of his former players still come back to visit. He remarked, “It is satisfying to run into them on the street or have them come back to a game or bump into them in a restaurant and still have that bond.”
It is that bond that he values in his coaching style. He has always had the ability not only to have his players understand what it is his is trying to do but to also understand where they are coming from. He explained, “You try to instill upon them a sense of pride and competition to elevate themselves but I think I’ve always been able to understand things from their perspective too.”
Overall, Coach Maggio’s record currently is 302-176-1. Impressive enough, but that tied game? It was the first game of the 2003 season and was played in snow squalls against Immaculata High School. It ended being scoreless but Roselle Park beat them a few weeks later. That year had the Roselle Park Softball team come away with a Group 1 State Championship as well as the Union County Championship and a 24-1-1 record. A famous player from that era, Becky Riccitelli, herself later in life coached as well.
Currently, the RPHS Softball team has a record of 4-5 with two impressive divisional wins against Union and Scotch Plain. Still, Coach Maggio looks ahead to the next game and the rest of the season. He states, “We’re looking to do some good things before it’s done.”
Understanding that the most important game is the next one, Coach Maggio reflected momentarily, saying, “It’s been a great experience. There were some tough times but, all in all, by far it’s been very rewarding. I hope I have a few years yet to go. As long as I continue to enjoy it and the girls don’t drive me nuts I guess I’ll keep doing it.”