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Pat Cassidy steps down as Broad Run baseball coach to watch home team

Pat Cassidy has decided to step down after 19 seasons as Broad Run High School baseball coach to spend more time with family. His daughter Erin Cassidy is a rising sophomore on Broad Run’s softball team.—File Photo
After 19 years at the reins of Broad Run High School's baseball program, 42-year-old alumnus Pat Cassidy has resigned his post as the Spartans' head coach.

It was a decision he and his wife Jennifer were considering over the past spring season, during which their daughter Erin, a rising sophomore, was often one field over, playing the outfield in a Broad Run softball uniform.

Meanwhile, his other daughter Megan, 13, was advancing in her competitive dance endeavors, and his son, Tyler, turned 6.

"It's hard, because as much as I enjoy spending all that time coaching the Broad Run baseball team, it's time for me to spend some of that time with my family," Cassidy said. "Time is going to fly by .... I need to be more dad than coach at this time."

Cassidy noted that it's not uncommon to spend "20 to 40 hours on your sport" during the season, plus more time investment during the off-season with winter camps, weight training and engaging college coaches in the recruiting process.

"If you're going to do the job right, it's a year-round commitment," he said. "I think a lot of people don't see how much you're coaching when it's not your actual season. Those hours start to add up."

He stressed that the decision to step away was his own.

"I got no pressure from my family," he said. "Erin told me if I wanted to coach baseball, to coach baseball, because she knows how much I love coaching.

"But ultimately, I want to see her play more than I want to coach."

The decision was finalized when the season concluded, when he announced it to his players and their parents at a team banquet in mid-June.

Cassidy said he felt the affection of the Broad Run family when his players and their parents responded to his news with a standing ovation.

"They all respected the decision," said the outgoing head coach, a 1991 graduate like his wife. "Broad Run is a really special place, having grown up there."

Cassidy will remain with the Ashburn school - where he manned second base when the school captured its only state baseball championship in 1991 - as an English teacher and an assistant on the boys' varsity basketball squad.

The demands on his time due to coaching basketball, he pointed out, are limited to the winter months.

"Who knows? Maybe later on I'll get back into coaching [baseball], maybe not," he mused.

Cassidy played both baseball and basketball for the Spartans, going on to play four years of basketball for the Catholic University of America.

Upon graduation, he returned to his alma mater as a teacher. He also assisted on the baseball staff under Wayne Todd, then in his 19th and final season guiding the Spartans' baseball club before moving to the same position at Loudoun Valley High School, where he remains.

In Cassidy's own 19-year tenure, he has led the Spartans to more than 220 victories and made Broad Run a mainstay in the regional postseason tournament. In 2011, his team was among the state's final four for Group AA.

More than 30 players went on to collegiate careers after Cassidy's tutelage, including current professionals Conor Mullee (now with Double-A Trenton in the New York Yankees' system) and Taylor Clarke (a third-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in last month's draft).

Cassidy indicated that he was fortunate to be in the "right place at the right time" to interview for and be offered the head coaching job at the tender age of 23.

Since, of course, the Cassidys have had three children. While he noted that his passion for coaching has not diminished - he literally wrote the book on coaching: "Effective Coaching: Teaching Young People Sports & Sportsmanship" - the time requirement to properly fulfill his job's duties has infringed upon his family time.

Cassidy is still a young man, still vibrant and energetic on the ballfield, still connected to the Broad Run community through his basketball coaching, his day job and his children. When he's watching Erin on one field, he'll be keeping track of the Spartans' baseball fortunes the next field over.

But for now, Cassidy is focusing on his job as the patriarch of his own team.

"I coached a lot of really good ballplayers and a lot of great people," he summed up. "I look back upon it as time well spent."

Cassidy recalled Todd's words when the older coach decided to move on to Valley, where his own son was then set to matriculate.

"He said, 'There's never a good time to leave. There will always be kids you'll want to stay for.' And he's right," Cassidy said. "You really care about the kids you coach. The only thing you care about more is your own kids."


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