Already a three-time hall of famer and the winningest softball coach in National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) Division III history, Brookdale Community College coach Thomas “Bo” Scannapieco has once again etched his name in the record books.
On April 2, Scannapieco became the first NJCAA Division III softball coach to break the 1,000 win mark as the Jersey Blues swept Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) in Blue Bell, PA in an afternoon double-header.
With the victories, Scannapieco became only the seventh softball coach in NJCAA history reach the 1,000-win milestone.
“It means a lot. It really does,” said Scannapieco, following the team’s 19-0 and 19-1 victories over MCCC. “When you first start coaching, you don’t really think about things like that. I can still remember my first win, and how tough it was. As the years go on, if you do it long enough and you have a little bit of success, you are going to get numbers. That’s the way it is.
“But I’ll tell you this. I am so proud of this team. I am proud of what we accomplished, and I am proud of the program. The program has really done well.”
Scannapieco, of Jackson, began his Brookdale athletics career as a student-athlete. In 1973 he became the first Jersey Blues baseball player to record a hit at the college’s MacLaughin Field.
He graduated from Brookdale in 1976 and later returned to work as an intramural program coordinator and assistant baseball coach. He was named head coach of the college’s softball program in 1986.
In the three decades since, Scannapieco’s teams have qualified for the NJCAA national championship tournament 18 times and won 18 Region XIX championships, including 11 straight from 1996-2006. Coach Bo’s teams have also won 15 Garden State Athletic Conference championships and three NJCAA national championships, most recently in 2010.
With the victories on April 2, Scannapieco’s career record improved to 1000-286-3. The coach, however, said he was much happier to see his team improve its record to 10-10 following a difficult start to the season.
“I’m proud of the way the team has handled it. We had a tough early schedule, but they have hung in there pretty well,” he said. “With the run-up to 1,000 wins the focus was more on me, and I really didn’t want that. I wanted it to be on them. We have a good team, and now I think we can move on and get on a roll here.
“I really think that we are going to make a lot of noise in the second half of the season,” he added. “To me, it’s almost like the season starts now. That’s how we’re looking at it.”
That team-first attitude was echoed by the Jersey Blues squad, who mobbed their coach on the softball diamond and even hoisted him in the air following the milestone win on April 2.
“I think that now that a little bit of the pressure is off, it’s going to be smooth sailing from here on out,” said sophomore second baseman Taylor Sheridan, of Keyport. “But Bo totally deserves this. I am so happy for him, and I am so proud to be a part of this team and to be able to win this for him. He’s the best coach I’ve ever had.
“He loves the game,” Sheridan added. “He has so much heart. He always has a plan and knows what he’s going to do next. He’s smart, he’s dedicated, he’s entertaining, he’s funny and he genuinely cares about the team – he’s everything you could want in a coach.”
For Cassie Varvaro, the team’s sophomore shortstop, the 1,000th win was an opportunity to repay Scannapieco for his undying commitment to his players.
“Bo always believed in us. For him, the milestone didn’t mean that much, but for us as players, we really wanted to get this for him. He deserves it, 100 percent,” said Varvaro, of Toms River.
“As a coach, and as a person, he is one of the best guys I’ve ever met. He has done so much for me personally as a player and as a student. He helped me feel comfortable at Brookdale. He’s done everything I could ever ask for. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Surrounded by his players, their family members and other team supporters who made the long trip to Pennsylvania to see the historic win in person, Scannapieco took time out to reflect on the 30-plus year career that had given rise to all those wins.
“I’ll tell you what, it went fast. It seems like yesterday I just started working at Brookdale,” he said. “But I think the reason why I lasted so long is that I enjoyed the people who were around me. I enjoyed all the players, the coaches, I enjoyed every athletic director and assistant coach I ever had. That is what has fulfilled me.”
Scannapieco was inducted into the NJCAA Softball Hall of Fame in 2007; the Jersey Shore Sports Hall of Fame in 2013; and the Brookdale Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016. He is also a three-time NJCAA coach of the year.
Learn more about Brookdale Athletics here.
Check out more photos of Bo’s historic win here.