|STAC Baseball Coach Scott Muscat|
By Samantha Soto
In 1989 a young pitcher was the 18th draft pick for the Milwaukee Brewers. After pitching just two short seasons in the minor leagues, a shoulder surgery ended his professional career in baseball. After this rough patch, he decided to avoid the game entirely and went on to be a teacher and even do some ministry work for 3 years.
Almost like a sign, in 1999, he saw a newspaper article for a college looking for a new head baseball coach. Suddenly he found his love for baseball again and took on the role of St. Thomas Aquinas College’s head coach. The Spartans' dynamic diamond commander for the past 16 years is none other than Scott Muscat.
When Muscat first arrived in 2000 he was determined to change the whole baseball program, but did not exactly have a plan as to how he was going to do it. He started by requesting scholarship money so that the team could get better players and that the school increase the recruiting program. He was successful and in just one short year, by 2001, the team went from NAIA to NCAA DII.
In 2002, STAC played for the first time in the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference and finished in 5th place. It was in this same year that Muscat’s player Brian Flynn was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. By 2003 STAC’s record was becoming increasingly impressive, as they now placed 2nd in NYCAC tournament and number 1 seeding in the ECAC Tournament. The team continued to rise above and prove that Coach Muscat was truly just the man they needed.
As the years have passed, Muscat has lead the team to 10 of its 12 conference tournaments, 3 ECC tournament titles, 3 regular season titles, an NCAA East Region Championship and other honors. Muscat has personally received a few awards for his amazing coaching including NYCAC Coach of the Year, ECC Coach of the Year twice, East Region Coach of the Year twice, and ABCA East Region Coach of the Year.
After having the pleasure of meeting and talking with Coach Muscat, I learned a lot about him, especially when it comes to baseball. During his early years, pitching in college, he kept thinking to himself “If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen. It’s not my job to draft, it’s my job to pitch.”
When he thinks back on that time in his life, his only true regret was not pitching more innings in his junior and senior year after his first arm surgery. He even feels if it wasn’t for his injury he could’ve even gone on at least to the double A.
Muscat even stepped back into the game briefly to play for the Nyack Indians but refused to pitch. He instead played center field and enjoyed every moment, pushing himself to play until he was 41. But now at the age of 48, he has realized he can definitely never play again and takes a lot of pride and joy in coaching. He has learned how important it is to be a mental player and now takes more pressure off himself and lets his boys be the stars. When his players are down, it affects him as well but he gets through it by reminding himself “You can’t give up on your game plan or coaching philosophy” and “Can’t forget how difficult the game is.”
Now looking back on his life, he’s enjoying just being a coach and stepping back so his players could be the stars. Muscat said the number one thing he hopes his players get out of STAC is “Sometimes you have to put others before yourself; you’re not always going to be the star. The results will eventually come.”
After further discussing how important it is for his players to maintain a high GPA, his coaching styles, Spartan volunteer work, and even his children and their love for little league, he let me in on what professional teams he would love to coach if given the chance: “Dodgers or Cardinals. Teams with a lot of history, or maybe the Pirates. I’m not sure, but either way that would be an amazing opportunity.”
Muscat left me with this motto he personally likes to live by: “Preparation leads to the results. The results kind of lead to themselves and they will take care of themselves.”
Samantha Soto is a junior majoring in Communication Arts at St. Thomas Aquinas College.