Whenever Lauren Esposito had a softball question, she went to dad.
Esposito, the coach of the Franklin Towne Charter High School softball team, played competitively growing up. She starred on travel teams and also was an accomplished player at Archbishop Wood.
One of her best coaches was Paul, her father, and he passed on more than his passion for the sport.
“He was always there whenever I had a question,” Lauren said of her dad. “It was always nice to have him around because he knew a lot about softball, and he loved being around the games.”
Now he’s around the game a lot more.
The second-year coach now has an assistant she can always count on, her dad.
Together, they’re quite the team.
“Last year, he wasn’t retired yet, so he would come and keep the book for us, and if I needed to bounce an idea off him, he was there,” said Lauren, who last year, in her first season, coached the Coyotes to a Public League championship. “This year, he’s retired, so he had more time to be here, and the girls love him. I love having him.”
The partnership is equally appealing to her assistant.
“I love doing it because it’s fun to watch her in action,” said Paul, who retired from the carpenters’ union last year. “She does so much. Coaching is a tough job, and last year I would come to games and she would be coaching, coaching third base and keeping the book. I just started doing it because she was doing so much.
“She is the head coach. I’m there for support. Sometimes, she’ll ask me a question and I try to help her the best I can. She does a great job.”
Two heads are better than one, but at times it seems like Franklin Towne has one coach because the Espositos are so similar.
That could be because Lauren has picked up a lot of her tricks from her dad. But they also have the same personality and philosophy. That means they are usually on the same page when making softball decisions.
“We played a night game against Ryan, we do it every year, and my mom was at the game,” Lauren said. “I said something to one of the girls and she said she saw me saying it, but it was something he would say. That type of things happens all the time.
“I’m the coach, but I respect him so much so I’ll always talk with him. After tryouts, I called him and asked him his thoughts. He is always ready to help, but he’s good about letting me have the final say.”
That’s the easy part.
Paul knows exactly what kind of teacher his daughter is.
He also knows that she’s a hard worker who always wants what’s best for the team.
“She does everything for the school, for the team,” Paul said. “She lines the field, she gets everything ready. Coaching isn’t just showing up. There’s a lot that goes into it. So anything I can do to help her, and help the team, I’m going to do.”
For Paul, this is the perfect way to spend his retirement. Last year, he was able to be at a lot of the games because he suffered a knee injury on the job. Now that he’s retired, he’s able to devote a lot more time to helping Franklin Towne defend its championship.
“She’s very competitive,” Paul said. “She was the same way growing up, she took softball very seriously when she was playing. I’m the same way. Last year, winning the championship was great because I know how hard she worked and how hard the girls worked. It was fun to see it end with a championship.”
That’s exactly how both coaches would like to see this season end.
Winning is important, but it’s not the most important thing for the coaches.
Watching the girls succeed and learn is their main objective.
“He’s a great teacher and coach,” said Lauren, who has coached Franklin Towne to an unbeaten Public League record thus far. “The girls love him and we’re having a lot of fun. Coaching isn’t easy, and I don’t think I could do it without him. Last year, when he wasn’t there, I’m not sure how I did it.”
“I’m very proud of her, she’s doing great,” Paul said. “I’m around if someone needs to yell at the umpire or do something like that. Let me get tossed so she can stay and coach. She’s the coach. We’re all very proud of her.” ••