Fitch names coaches in baseball, boys' lacrosse

Brian McGugan played baseball at Fitch High School for legendary coach Ed Harvey, whom McGugan said had a “presence about him” during his 34-year career.

“You almost wanted to do it for him. He’s a pure baseball guy, like, you don’t mess around with baseball,” McGugan said. “He just had that way about him.”

McGugan couldn’t be happier, therefore, than to be named the Fitch baseball coach. Athletic director Marc Romano announced the hiring of McGugan on Saturday, as well as the hiring of David Sabilia as the Falcons’ new boys’ lacrosse coach. McGugan replaces Jeff Joyce, while Sabilia steps in for Scott Hicks.

McGugan, a 2005 Fitch graduate and The Day’s 2005 All-Area Baseball Player of the Year following the Falcons’ Class LL state championship, calls it his dream job.

“That’s all I really think about, to be honest,” McGugan said. “Ever since I played for Ed, I knew I wanted to do this at some point. I was an assistant from 2010-14 under (former Fitch coach) Marc Peluso. That was a good start. It caught like wildfire with me. … It’s still kind of settling in. I kind of hit the ground running, got a couple fundraisers in place.”

McGugan hit .597 his senior season as Fitch’s catcher, with 51 hits, five home runs and 46 RBI. He was named to the Class LL all-state team. He followed the next year by earning All-America honors at UConn Avery Point, where he hit .446 with five homers and 37 RBI.

McGugan, who works for the Army National Guard fixing helicopters at the Groton-New London Airport, is a Groton resident. His son Cam is an eighth-grader who will play at Fitch beginning with the 2019 season.

“Brian has a great background in the sport of baseball as both a player and a coach,” Romano said in a press release. “Brian’s knowledge of the game of baseball, along with his strong rapport with our student-athletes, will help continue the strong passion and tradition of Fitch baseball.”

Sabilia is a fifth-grade teacher at Barnum Elementary School in Groton and served as Fitch’s junior varsity coach last season. He played for one season at Mitchell College and was an assistant coach for the Pequots for three years.

“We’re really excited for the spring … the first day of practice,” Sabilia said. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to coach the team, definitely. I think sports in general are a great way to learn, great life skills.”

Said Romano: “David has a strong desire for the game of lacrosse. He is a very well-respected teacher in our district who demonstrates a strong work ethic and understands the role of academics and athletics in developing our student-athletes.”

v.fulkerson@theday.com

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