The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team heads to the National Championship in Grand Prairie, Texas. For Coach Scott Muscat and his Parents, a trip to the NCAA Tournament has become an annual right of spring.
It could easily be something from a nature documentary...
"... Each spring in late May, the Muscats migrate north, settling in New Hampshire for a long as a week. Their motivation - serving witness to the gold-breasted Spartans stalking their prey..."
St. Thomas Aquinas Head Coach Scott Muscat has built the Spartans program into one of the most formidable in the East Region. As the team continues through its 6th-straight 30-plus win season and 5th straight trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament, including their second trip to the NCAA Division II Championship, they see their first action this Sunday against UC San Diego in search of a national title.
As observers of the program are well aware, Coach Muscat's roots are firmly and proudly planted in his North Carolina upbringing, which included two straight prep school State Championships and a strong collegiate career at UNC Charlotte, followed by a two-year stint in the Milwaukee Brewers' system.
Through that long journey, his parents, Kirk and Mabel have been there every step of the way, including what has become an annual journey to the New York area for the conclusion of the regular-season, and the ensuing trip to New Hampshire to watch the Spartans tackle the region's toughest teams.
When the Muscats make their welcome appearance, it is a sure sign that playoffs are around the corner. But for STAC's coach, that has always been the case. "My dad was my Little League coach, so he had a direct on-the-field influence," the coach noted, "but the main aspect of my parents' support was their attendance at everything, and I mean everything."
That support continued into Scott's college and even his minor league career. "During my college days, the joke was that, 'if you drove far enough, you'd run into water, or Mr. Muscat.' He showed up once at a minor league game in 1989 in Billings, Montana, dressed as a gaudy looking tourist. He walked on the field during warmups, my teammates didn't know who he was and it took me a few minutes to figure it out. It's 2,000 miles from North Carolina to Billings."
In 2014, the Spartans' first ever East Regional Championship brought the Muscats to their own back yard, as STAC traveled to Cary, North Carolina. And now, that journey travels through Grand Prairie, Texas, as STAC looks to challenge for the biggest trophy of all. And whatever the outcome, Coach Muscat's affable parents will be part of the family.
"Having my parents come up every spring is very comforting to me," the five-time East Coast Conference Coach of the Year acknowledged, "and to know that I can continue to bring them joy as a coach is rewarding. Over the past few years they've gotten to know our players' parents, who are so loyal to our program, and built relationships with them.
"We kid around that (Mr. Muscat) is like the owner of the team, like Cashman or Steinbrenner, so when he comes up the ship better be in good order, with several wins." To date, that mission has been accomplished as, since the 2013 season, the team has compiled an impressive 25-15 post-season record. And counting.