The last time Stanley Paul and Bobby Migliazza teamed up with each other was in 2008 at Westhill High School, to win a state baseball title.
The two parted ways when Migliazza graduated and headed off to college at Seton Hall before transferring to Central Connecticut State University. Paul finished off his senior year and then headed to the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus in 2009, and eventually joined the Huskies in Storrs.
Now, the two have full-time jobs, but have found their way back to baseball and reconnected to coach the Darien/New Canaan 17U American Legion team this summer.
“During our collegiate years we’d touch base every now and then, but then as soon as he got out of school I knew he was working with his full-time job, but he has the same passion as me when it comes to baseball,” Migliazza said of Paul. “To make a long story short, he came to Bobby V’s to coach a little bit and give lessons, and then off the top of my head I was looking for a coach and knew he was interested in coaching. I just gave him a call. I knew him and I had a good relationship and that we’d be a good fit. It’s funny because we went to two Big East schools and we were rivals at the time. Now we’re back together coaching for the same team.”
Bobby V’s is Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy in Stamford.
“I knew he worked at Bobby V’s and when I heard about that it interested me,” Paul said. “I talked to Bobby about how it was and the environment and stuff and he said it was really good, so it kind of got me thinking. I joined last year, and ever since then it’s been great, the people have been great and it’s been cool to coach with Bobby since we both played in high school together and went off to college and here we are back together.”
Initially, coaching wasn’t necessarily in the cards for these two. They started their full-time jobs right out of school, but couldn’t stay away from the game for very long.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing baseball, obviously I’ve played my entire life, and coaching was kind of something that I wanted to do in my spare time besides working, so I thought why not enjoy it, and it was an opportunity to still be in the area and it really was a no-brainer for me,” Paul said.
“I knew I always would have a passion for baseball, so I was like ‘You know what, now that I can’t play the game anymore, I think I should just give some of the valuable knowledge that I’ve learned over the years to some of these kids that really want it,’ ” Migliazza said. “A lot of the things that I’ve learned over the years and some of the information that I hear, I wish I learned all that stuff when I was in college.”
Their first season with the Darien/New Canaan 17U has been filled with a lot of ups and downs. The team competes against some of the top talent in the area, but the two coaches have mostly been focused on helping their players progress, get better and learn.
“We have a pretty young team with a lot of talent,” Migliazza said. “They’re still obviously learning a lot about the game. So far I think the kids handle themselves really well, they’re mature and things are going okay.”
Coaching high school is the perfect fit for these two. They’ve been there and know exactly what it takes not only secure spots to play at the next level, but also to win a state championship in the process.
“I’ve been there and I know what these kids want,” Paul said. “I’ve been through it, Bobby’s been through it and we kind of just want to get through to them and make them understand that it’s going to be a hard road if they want to play in college.”
Paul was an All-FCIAC player his senior year after coming back from an injury that prevented him from actually playing in the state championship game the previous year. He played outfield when he got to UConn and contributed when the team made it to the finals of the Big East Tournament.
Migliazza had an outstanding high school career and was one of the key cogs in Westhill’s championship run. He got off to a good start his freshman year at Seton Hall, and finished off a productive career at Central.
“When you’re passionate about anything, we always try to go about our business the best way possible,” Migliazza said. “Right out of high school, Stanley and I knew that our dream was to play Division I baseball and then if we could do more than that then that’s fantastic, but when it comes to doing something at your very best, you just got to give it your best. That’s a carryover from when we were actually athletes to now coaching, because we know how much hard work it takes to become a good athlete, no matter what sport you play, and we try to reinforce that same information to the kids.”
Their time so far with this team has been all about giving back to these kids who are in the same positions that Paul and Migliazza were in at their age.
“Seeing the kids ask questions about college or when we played, kind of getting inside their heads,” Paul said. “It could help them, because if I could go back in high school and know what I knew now, it would’ve been really helpful,” Paul said. “Seeing these kids trying to learn and grow has been the biggest thing for me.”
Their futures with coaching are up in the air. While their full-time work comes first, it would depend on the opportunities that come their way next. However, both of them agree that their first season together has been a fun and rewarding one, and being around the sport that they love is what will keep them coming back.
“I will do whatever I can to keep coaching,” Migliazza said. “It’s always going to be in my blood to keep coaching, so as long as there’s an opportunity for myself to coach, I’d be more than happy to be able to do that.”