Deep-rooted community and family ties helped Aurora Central Catholic lure a hall-of-fame softball coach.
ACC athletic director Sean Bieterman announced Thursday that longtime former York coach Tom Babyar will be the Chargers' new softball coach. Babyar, an Illinois Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame member, won more than 600 games as York's coach between 1979-2011.
Bieterman was a York student during Babyar's lengthy tenure and their families are also closely acquainted.
"I've known the (Bieterman) family for years and he knew I was not coaching," Babyar said. "I've been at clinics with Sean where I'm coaching softball and he's doing baseball. I was at his wedding when he got married, I was invited by his parents. … He knew I wasn't coaching so he seeked me out. I gave it some thought because I drove out there and saw it was a 35, 40 minute drive every day, pay tolls and all that, but I'm going into it for the love of the game, not to make any money, I'll tell you that."
Babyar coached York to a downstate berth in 2003 and presided over the York team that stunned St. Charles North in the 2010 regionals, one year before virtually the same group of North Stars finished as Class 4A state runners-up.
Babyar said he will try to show up at ACC events during the fall and winter but there's not much time left in the summer to work with the team. The Chargers are coming off a surprising Class 2A supersectional berth under former coach Jim Hallahan, a Geneva resident.
"The hardest part will be the calendar is kind of running out in terms of what you can do," Bieterman said. "It will be hard initially to get quick evaluations but the nice thing is he has a real nice core of players coming back."
Despite Babyar's longevity and success at York, he left with some hard feelings after not being asked back following the 2011 season. He said some of the changes over the years have made things hard on coaches, namely excessive parent involvement.
"It's just not a good situation," Babyar said. "Parents who complain, it bodes negative for the program. Somehow it infiltrates, and it's just not good."
Bieterman said he has been delighted to see ACC make "a pretty good splash in the last month here," referencing the hirings of former Rosary coach Kristy Kane (girls soccer), Babyar and new ACC football defensive coordinator John Belskis, former coach at Downers Grove South.