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Groton - His old coach, Roger Bidwell at UConn-Avery Point, once said this about coaching in general:
"There are no classes on how to do this," he said. "You are a product of who you played for and who you are."
All of which means Fitch High School graduate Jeff Joyce is a great choice to lead the school's baseball program.
Joyce, a disciple of local greats Bidwell, former Fitch coach Ed Harvey and former New London American Legion coach Jim O'Neill, was named the coach at his alma mater Tuesday.
Joyce, who coached the baseball program at Wheeler High School for three seasons, also pitched Division I baseball at the University of Hartford.
"Receiving the opportunity to return to Fitch High School and the Groton-Mystic community is a profound honor," Joyce said. "I am humbled to be in a position to be able to repay a program, a school, and a community vital in shaping my personal and athletic development."
Joyce replaces Marc Peluso, whose coaching contract was not renewed. Peluso succeeded Harvey and led Fitch to the 2012 state title.
Joyce will remain an English teacher at Norwich Free Academy and coach at Fitch.
"I would like to express a deep level of gratitude to the administration at Fitch for giving me this opportunity as well as to the wonderful people at NFA for supporting this opportunity," he said. "Coaching a program I love while still being able to teach at a school I love truly makes me the luckiest guy around."
Fitch athletic director Marc Romano wrote in a press release, "We are confident that Jeff will continue the proud tradition of Fitch High School baseball moving forward."