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When Brittany Connors found out part of the way through last season that St. Bernard School softball coach Jeff Mauri was thinking of retiring, that gave Connors time to think.
"I would look at it like, 'What would I do if I was coaching?'" said Connors, Mauri's assistant on a team which finished its season in the Class S state championship game. "Then we did really well."
Connors, who pitched in a state championship game herself in 2007, her senior year at Waterford High School, has always known that after her playing career was over she wanted to coach.
This spring, Connors found herself digging up rocks and pulling weeds to get the St. Bernard softball field ready for an opening day game against Stonington. All part of the "glamour" of being the head coach.
Connors, 23, whose dad Don is one of her assistant coaches, couldn't be happier.
"I've always, since I was little, wanted to teach. The next step was always to coach. I love working with kids," said Connors, who graduated from Western Connecticut State in 2011 with a degree in health education and is a substitute teacher in the Waterford and Old Saybrook school systems.
This week Connors won her first career game, as the Saints defeated Windham 8-2 on Wednesday. St. Bernard picked up a win Friday against Tourtellotte, too, and is 2-5.
"I am so proud of her for who she is and all she has to offer her girls," Waterford coach Liz Sutman, who coached Connors, said earlier in the week. "They are so lucky to have someone so invested in them and in their success as ballplayers and young women.
"She was a hard-working player and this will be the first of many wins for her in her career."
Connors, for her part, was thinking of a scouting mission to a Waterford game. Just to watch Sutman coach.
"Not that I took it for granted when I played for her, but I don't think I realized until now," Connors said. "She's my idol. ... I need to get to the level she's at. I want to keep learning from her."
And of coaching along with her dad, who always coached her and her sisters in youth leagues in Waterford?
"He's so helpful. But our roles have changed," Connors said with a smile. "I'm coach Connors now."
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