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Iquinto credits others in winning big award

by Matt Harvey


(June 21) When Liberty coach Pete Iquinto received the state high school baseball coach of the year award during halftime of Saturday's North-South all-star football game, he had plenty of company -- at least in spirit.

Because in Iquinto's mind, all his many helpers were there, as always.

"It's unquestionably, without a doubt, the biggest individual honor a coach could get, coming from the whole state, all your peers over the state," Iquinto said.

"I've got to share it, without question, with my assistant coaches, my team, my family and my administration. It's for all those people. Without them, it wouldn't have been possible."

Iquinto, 49, has been coaching 22 years and has had some stellar teams, first at Lumberport, then Lincoln, and for the past 10 years at Liberty.

But he had not previously won the award. A key factor this year, he said, was that the team won the Class AA state championship.

He called the award "gravy, icing on the cake," but said he intends to keep coaching.

"As long as I'm not in anybody's way, as long as I have the adrenaline, enthusiasm, love for the game, as long as I don't slow anybody down, I'll keep coaching," he said. "When the time comes to quit, between myself, good friends and my family, I think I'll know.

"Some people have been saying to me, 'Now's the time to quit because you've won it all.' A guy doesn't go into coaching just to win the state championship and quit.

"A guy who wins the state championship and says, 'I'm quitting, I'm going out a winner,' that's not a winner, in my opinion," Iquinto said.

One of the joys of coaching, he said, is having a former player make it in the world and credit some of the lessons learned from sports, Iquinto said.

The coach said he has received letters along those lines "that to me would go up on the wall with any coach of the year award."

The award and the championship will help motivate his returning players, Iquinto said.

"We had 10 seniors this season, but trust me, we'll have a good baseball team next year."