Monday, March 10, 2014 2:25 AM
Published on: Thursday, April 18, 2013
By Tim Schwartz
Brian Carroccio has been around The Heights School for most of the last 21 years as a student, teacher and coach. But come the end of this baseball season, Carroccio will step down as the head coach to focus more of his time on his writing career.
“The Heights lose one of their most influential leaders with Brian stepping down,” said Avalon head baseball coach Pat Duffy. “He has the kind of personality that draws you in because he gets excited about good things. It's wonderful he'll still teach at the school but athletics is one of the strongest ways to reach young men. Brian respected that part of the job, and was a true role model and mentor to the Cavalier baseball players.”
“Not enough hours in the day mainly,” Carroccio said for why he is stepping down. “I guess I’ve started a bit of a writing career. I write for an online subscription publication and I’m going to start a media business hopefully around the writing… I’m going to miss but I have two kids now and I couldn’t do the business and teach and coach, so something had to get cut.”
During his time as a player at The Heights, Carroccio had one of the finest pitching careers in school history and went on to become a three-year letterman at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. There he was named to the Capital Athletic Conference All-Academic Team as a sophomore and senior.
Carroccio returned to Montgomery County to coach junior varsity baseball at Good Counsel and The Heights before joining the varsity staff with the Cavaliers. He was named head coach in 2003 and through nine years has compiled a 184-82 record making him second all-time in wins in school history.
Despite an average class size of 15 students, “baseball at The Heights is healthy,” said Carroccio. “Forty-one kids play baseball in the high school when a lot of schools are cutting baseball back. We actually cannot accommodate all the kids that want to play. We don’t have enough space for all the kids that want to play.”
In 2007, Carroccio decided to do something different. With the help of Duffy, Carroccio created the Old Line Baseball Conference.
“This was Brian's baby, and with careful planning, he did an excellent job getting it started,” said Duffy. “Keeping it together hasn't been easy, it's a one sport conference, but his time and efforts paid off.”
The conference was created for small private schools to play quality and competitive baseball.
“In my opinion, that is the reason why small school baseball has taken a hit in talent the past few years,” said Duffy. “Schools like Avalon, The Heights, and Goretti in Hagerstown are still strong because we challenge our team with tough schedules by playing bigger schools, and we stay active in the baseball community.”
The league has grown since conference play started in 2008 and currently has six teams but the league has had trouble expanding. With Carroccio stepping down at the end of the year the future of the league is in doubt.
“I think the issue with the Old Line is that it’s just baseball and it hasn’t been able to expand into other sports,” said Carroccio. “One sport leagues tend to never last because it’s so easy for teams to leave.”
“I think with him leaving, the conference is going to need a collective effort to stay intact,” said Duffy. “I'm not sure we have enough support for that, but we'll certainly try to keep it going. The problem with sustaining the league is that there are too many quality, small school, baseball programs that are a great fit for us, but are married to other conferences with low-level competition.”
Riverdale Baptist of Upper Marlboro, one of the best teams in all of Prince Georges County, won the OLBC from 2008-2010 but is no longer in the league.
“Teams could not get more than one sport out of it so when they found a league that offered them more than one sport they would leave.
“The Old Line could have been something,” said Carroccio. “I don’t know how it will go on. To survive it will need to add more sports. I don’t know what’s going to happen with it but I’m a little concerned it will go away at some point.”
John Fritz, who is in his third year as hitting coach for the Cavaliers, will take over for Carroccio as head coach after the end of the season.