As a result of a variety of factors, Staples girls tennis coach Paco Fabian had to wait a long time to return to the basketball court. Fabian, who played point guard for Norwalk in the mid-1990s and spent time there as an assistant, was recently named head coach of the Staples girls basketball team.
Now that the job is his, Fabian is eager to transform the basketball program into one that mirrors the recent success the girls tennis team has enjoyed.
"I know there were some very good candidates and it was a tough process," Fabian said. "I know how much the town of Westport is respected throughout Fairfield County and a high-profile job like this is very important. I am very excited and happy to now be able to represent Westport and Staples and I hope I can do the same thing that we've done with the girls tennis team; create a competitive hard-working family atmosphere."
Fabian replaces longtime coach Ed Huydic, who coached for 34 seasons and won 453 games. Fabian plans to continue to coach the girls tennis team. Fabian has led the team to a 34-8 record in the past two seasons with consecutive appearances in the FCIAC semifinals.
Following a collegiate tennis career at Providence College, Fabian eventually landed as the coach of the Staples boys tennis team from 2003-2005.
"To me it's similar to when I replaced (former Staples boys tennis coach) Bob Holliday, who was the boys tennis coach for over 25 years," Fabian said. "To me it's the same situation; there were a lot of things I had to bring to the boys team because everyone was so used to the system."
Fabian, a three-year starter for the Bears, helped Norwalk to a special season in 1996 that included a 28-0 record, FCIAC and Class LL championships.
Fabian hopes to establish a positive atmosphere in Westport and install a sense of pride in each of his players.
"I envision that these girls will be really excited to always wear the Staples High uniform, and that every girl on our team will be well respected on and off court," Fabian said.
Fabian began his basketball coaching career at Norwalk under current girls coach Rick Fuller from 2005-2007. After leaving the high school sports scene to become a financial advisor, Fabian spent his time teaching tennis year round before being offered the position as the Staples girls tennis coach.
With the team he inherits from Huydic, Fabian believes he is in a position to compete right away. The Wreckers have not made the state tournament in the last two seasons.
"I know we do have six seniors this year so I want do as well as we can," Fabian said. "Our goal is to make the state tournament and the FCIAC tournament. With six seniors on the team, the first year is important to build a winning atmosphere, with also at the same time paying attention to the younger kids building for the future."