Burlington Central's softball players did not know until after Tuesday's sectional semifinal loss to Sterling that the game marked the end of the line for Wade Maisto as the Rockets' head coach.
Maisto, who went 384-115 in two stints as head coach, informed the girls of his decision to step down after the 8-7, eight-inning loss to Sterling in a 3A Marengo Sectional semifinal.
"I didn't want any distractions, didn't want anything mentioned of it, so I had known, but I didn't want the girls to really know anything about it, so when the game was over we wished our best to the seniors and thanked them and I also told the girls it was my last game, too," Maisto said. "It's one of those things, I don't know what the reaction was because they were still disappointed over a heartbreaking game, losing in eight innings ... but a couple girls said real nice things, which was real nice to hear."
Maisto stepped down for the first time as head coach in 1998 after 15 years running the program. He later spent five years as an assistant at Central under Scot Sutherland before guiding the Rockets to 50 wins the past two seasons as head coach, including a conference championship last year and a regional title this year.
"When I was coaching I told the girls from the start of the season I want you to feel what it's like to win these championships because it is an adrenaline rush you just can't get in life from a lot of other things, and they were able to experience that last Saturday, so I feel really good about that for them," Maisto said.
Former Central pitching standout Erica Maisto, an assistant coach on her dad's staff this year, will not take over the program, Wade Maisto said.
"Erica will not be a candidate for the varsity position, that much we know for sure," Maisto said. "What her involvement will be, that has not been determined, but she is not going to be an applicant for the head spot."
Wade Maisto said no longer teaching at Central as he once did made him feel less connected to the program. He said he's unsure whether he'll coach again in the future but still considers softball "a great game. Once it gets in your system, it's in your system."