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Rye Neck Softball Is Spedafino Family Affair

MAMARONECK, N.Y. — Rye Neck varsity softball coach Joan Spedafino has always made her program like family, first with the girls on the team and then with her loved ones.

Spedafino, in her 25th year at Rye Neck, has spent all but three of those years with her husband and son by her side. Husband Frank has been her assistant coach for 22 years. Son Robby, a former Rye Neck three-sport standout, is in his third season.

The two men, along with younger son Angelo, will be with Spedafino on Friday when she goes for win No. 400 as Rye Neck plays at Horace Greeley.

Pearl River's Mike Carlacci and Nanuet's Tony Toronto are the only active Section 1 coaches with 400 or more wins. Two retired coaches, Eastchester's Skip Walsh and Nyack's Tony Boffa, also surpassed that milestone.

"It's wonderful," Spedafino said of having her son on staff. "It's always nice to see your child love what you love to do. Robby first started coming when Frank hurt his back, and it continued from there. He loves the sport."

Frank Spedafino, still an active player in fast-pitch softball men's leagues, has been in the first-base coach's box for 22 years, encouraging the girls, beginning with one of his favorites: "Nothing above Rye Neck."

"For this, along with our children, this is our common bond," said Joan Spedafino, who registered No. 399 on Monday with a 2-1 win over Harrison. "We have different personalities, but it just clicks.

"Frank calls the pitches and sets the defense. He is more of the front man. I am more of the motherly type."

The husband-wife coaching tandem speak at least twice a day before a game, mapping out everything. Once Frank goes to coach first base and Joan makes the short walk to coach third, Robby runs the dugout. And when Angelo is finished with varsity baseball practice, he comes by to offer support.

The three strong-willed personalities get along well and are always willing to listen to suggestions, Joan Spedafino said.

"It's great to be able to do something you love with the people you love the most," she said. "My mother coached me in grammar school in basketball and softball and then I coached Robby in CYO basketball. Now, I get to coach with him and my husband."

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