Nick Fuscardo is in his 28th year as head coach of the Hornets baseball team, and has totaled over 575 wins, making him the winningest coach in Fullerton athletic history.
Fuscardo has been coaching the game he loves for 46 years now, but has been involved in the game for much longer as he was a prominent player himself before becoming a coach.
His coaching journey began when he was a sophomore at Serra High School, where he played shortstop for the varsity baseball team. Fuscardo says that his varsity coach wasn’t much of a coach, and the team took it upon themselves to learn the game.
“He was one of those lazy coaches that would just roll the balls out there, and after one hour he’d be done with practice,” Fuscardo said.
As a leader of the team, Fuscardo would have the team stay after to continue practicing and run drills, basically coach themselves.
“I learned a lot from that. He’d sit in the dugout, and we would be giving each other our own signs,” Fuscardo said. “It was as if we really didn’t have a coach. I knew I wanted to be a coach then as a sophomore in high school, and I pursued that direction.”
He became familiar with community college baseball after high school as he played for El Camino College, where he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame for his athletic achievements.
From there, he went on to play shortstop at West Liberty University in West Virginia, and received his Bachelor degree. He furthered his education at Cal State Fullerton and received his Master’s in Education Administration so that he can fulfill his dream of making coaching and teaching his career.
His first coaching job opportunity came in 1969, when he was offered a coaching/teaching job to take over as head coach of the Troy High School junior varsity baseball team. The following year he was offered the varsity position, and won the Freeway League championship as a rookie coach.
He stayed at Troy for 13 years where he won four more championships and 11 playoff appearances, before making the decision to begin his college coaching career.
After the word began to spread about Fuscardo’s departure from Troy, he was offered assistant coaching positions at both Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton College. After attending a FC football game, he was impressed with the school, and admired the university feel it had too it.
He scheduled an appointment to meet with FC Hall of Fame coach Mike Sgobba, and was offered a job as an assistant coach.
He decided to accept the job as part of the Hornets staff to coach under Sgobba, who was the previous holder of the school’s most career wins with 487.
“Probably the best move i’ve made was coming to Fullerton JC. I don’t regret one moment,” stated Fuscardo.
After four years of helping out the coaching staff, he was offered the head coaching position going into the ’86 season.
This was a big step for “Skip”, which is what his players know him as. He would finally become a head coach at the collegiate level, in one of the toughest community college conferences in America.
“It was a real blessing, I’ll never forget that day,” Fuscardo said. “I called my Dad and told him that I just got the job as head coach for Fullerton College, and that there’s only 50 baseball teams in the state of California, and was given the chance to be one of the 50 guys. He was always real proud of that.”
Since taking over 28 years ago, he’s built a program that prides itself on success and discipline and education.
“If my kids are successful playing the game, but they don’t go to class and they can’t go to the next level, then its counterproductive to what our mission statement is here at Fullerton College,” Fuscardo said.
Several players coached by Skip have made it on to play at four-year colleges and universities, and a number of them have even gone on to play in the big leagues.
Former San Diego Padres catcher Tom Wilson, and former New York Mets pitcher Steve Trachsel are two notable former players of Fuscardo who made it to the pro’s.
Over fifty of his players have gone pro, and over 150 have gone on to play at the four-year level. Skip does his best to keep in contact with all his former players, even from his early coaching days at Troy.
When not on the baseball diamond, Fuscardo is a big family guy. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Susan, and their three children: Julie, Marci and Joey. He also has three grandchildren who he loves to be around, and of course his baseball family, his team.
Although the offseason is limited for a full-time college instructor and coach, he tries his best to travel during his team’s offseason. One of his favorite places to travel is in Havasu, where he goes to visit his brother.
“I’m a big family guy and I love family. My team, they are my family too and I make sure they understand that,” Fuscardo said.
After nearly fifty years of doing what he loves, it is unknown how much longer Coach Fuscardo will be coaching.
“I tell everybody I’m year to year, ill assess where I’m at at the end of the year,” Fuscardo said. “ill assess where the program is at the end of this year, then I’ll decide.”
Baseball has been a huge part of Skip’s life as he’s taught his knowledge to so many students of the game, and his love for the game will never die.
“It’s the greatest game in the world, its not controlled by clock its controlled by players and umpires,” Fuscardo said. “I still love it, I love what I do, I love the challenge.”
As of right now, the Hornets are in the race for a conference championship and look to get back to where they were last year. Last season was perhaps one of Skip’s most memorable years of coaching as his team won the Orange Empire Conference title, and made a run to the state championship. Fuscardo was awarded 2013 OEC Coach of the year, and 2013 All-American Coach of the year.
“We play in the toughest league and to watch our kids compete and play hard, go to the championship. It was an absolute lifelong thrill, something that I hold dear to my heart,” Fuscardo said.
Although it is not certain much longer Fuscardo will giving batters signs from the third-base line, it is certain that he will be the winningest coach in Hornets history when its all said and done.
The contribution he’s made to Fullerton College and it’s community, and the impact he’s made on so many students’ lives is astounding.
He has devoted himself to Fullerton College as a coach and educator, and his continued success is a reflection of how good he is.