Mc­Carthy gets rid of base­ball staff

For­mer Mar­lin Fer­nan­dez says school used vi­o­la­tions as ex­cuse

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Wells Dusen­bury Staff writer

Af­ter one of the most pro­lific runs the state has ever seen, the Arch­bishop Mc­Carthy high school base­ball dy­nasty has come to a close.

Months af­ter a cheat­ing scan­dal rocked the team, the school has parted ways with long­time coach Rich Biel­ski and di­rec­tor of base­ball op­er­a­tions Alex Fer­nan­dez, who to­gether helped lead the South­west Ranches pro­gram to seven state ti­tles in the past eight sea­sons. The Mav­er­icks, who cap­tured the Class 6A cham­pi­onship in June, fin­ished the year as the na­tion’s No.1 team in the MaxPreps me­dia com­pos­ite rank­ings.

Fer­nan­dez told the Sun Sentinel on Tues­day that Arch­bishop Mc­Carthy elected to let him and the rest of the base­ball staff go two weeks ago, and he be­lieves the school used the rule vi­o­la­tions as an ex­cuse.

Biel­ski did not im­me­di­ately re­turn calls; Arch­bishop Mc­Carthy ath­letic di­rec­tor Tony Mas­saro de­clined to com­ment on the mat­ter.

“They don’t want to deal with what win­ning brings,” said Fer­nan­dez, who pitched for the Mar­lins dur­ing the team’s 1997 World Se­ries run. “Win­ning causes trou­ble, par­ent [com­plaints]. They don’t want to han­dle it.

“I kind of knew it was com­ing, be­cause we got no sup­port from the school. … We built some­thing so spe­cial. It hurts the kids. It’ll be like a YMCA or in­tra­mu­ral pro­gram now.”

In June, the Florida High School Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion fined the school $16,000 and forced it to va­cate all 22 of the team’s reg­u­lar-sea­son wins for field­ing three play­ers who were found to have been in­el­i­gi­ble and re­ceived im­per­mis­si­ble ben­e­fits. Mc­Carthy was al­lowed to keep its state ti­tle be­cause none of the in­el­i­gi­ble ath­letes played in the post­sea­son.

Fer­nan­dez was hired in 2008 as the school’s base­ball di­rec­tor; Biel­ski was brought on as head coach the next year. Biel­ski ac­cu­mu­lated a 225-53 record as he and Fer­nan­dez turned the pro­gram into a na­tional power.

The Mav­er­icks reeled off four con­sec­u­tive state ti­tles from 2010-13 and have won the past three in a row, capped off by the team’s Class 6A cham­pi­onship in June.

In 2011, Biel­ski was named Na­tional Base­ball Coach of the Year by USA Today af­ter lead­ing the team to a 29-3 mark. Arch­bishop Mc­Carthy fin­ished that sea­son as the coun­try’s top-ranked team by USA Today, Base­ball Amer­ica and Per­fect Game USA.

Fer­nan­dez’s son, An­drew, was the team’s start­ing catcher last sea­son. He has since grad­u­ated and will play at FIU this year.

“It was prob­a­bly the best pro­gram in the coun­try,” Alex Fer­nan­dez said. “We loved what we did. We were able to cre­ate a lot of great young men who were able to go into the work­force and be suc­cess­ful. That’s what I’m go­ing to miss.”

Fer­nan­dez, who spent 11 sea­sons with the Mar­lins and Chicago White Sox, said the goal is to keep to­gether the Arch­bishop staff who helped build the dy­nasty and re­peat the for­mula at an­other high school.

Biel­ski spent 10 sea­sons as coach at Hialeah High from 1993-2002. Biel­ski led the school to state ti­tles in 2001 and 2002 be­fore step­ping down.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.